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Google AI Beats Doctors at Breast Cancer Detection — Sometimes

Google’s health research unit said it has developed an artificial-intelligence system that can match or outperform radiologists at detecting breast cancer, according to new research. But doctors still beat the machines in some cases. From a report: The model, developed by an international team of researchers, caught cancers that were originally missed and reduced false-positive cancer flags for patients who didn’t actually have cancer, according to a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. Data from thousands of mammograms from women in the U.K. and the U.S. was used to train the AI system. But the algorithm isn’t yet ready for clinical use, the researchers said.

The model is the latest step in Google’s push into health care. The Alphabet company has developed similar systems to detect lung cancer, eye disease and kidney injury. Google and Alphabet have come under scrutiny for privacy concerns related to the use of patient data. A deal with Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S., allows Google to use AI to mine personal, identifiable health information from millions of patients to improve processes and care. The health data used in the breast-cancer project doesn’t include identifiable information, Google Health officials said, and the data was stripped of personal indicators before being given to Google. Radiologists and AI specialists said the model is promising, and officials at Google Health said the system could eventually support radiologists in improving breast-cancer detection and outcomes, as well as efficiency in mammogram reading.


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