A team of American, German, and French scientists has created an artificial intelligence that detects skin cancer based on imaging of the skin. According to the results of the experiment, this computer is more accurate than dermatologists.
The scientists trained this artificial intelligence system to distinguish skin lesions and moles according to whether they were benign or malign, using more than 100,000 images.
The computer’s performance was then compared to that of 58 specialist doctors from 17 countries.
The artificial intelligence, a so-called convolutional neural network, has managed to be better than dermatologists at spotting skin cancer by simply scanning series of photographs, announced today the research team.
Therefore, the computer presented a correct detection rate of 95%, compared to only 89% registered by the dermatologists.
“Most dermatologists have done less well,” write the researchers in the Annals of Oncology journal where the results of the study have been issued.
The artificial intelligence that detects skin cancer will be used as an additional tool in melanoma diagnosis
As the computer performed better than specialists, scoring a 95% detection rate, using only a series of images, this artificial intelligence not only missed fewer melanomas, but also “made fewer diagnostic errors consisting in seeing melanomas in benign moles”, which “would result in fewer unnecessary surgeries,” pointed out the Professor Holger Hanssle from the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.
As for what’s next, the researchers also stressed that their creation is not meant to replace doctors but is designed to be used as an additional tool in skin cancer diagnosis.
“Today, nothing can replace a thorough clinical examination,” stated Victoria Mar and Peter Soyer, two renowned Australian dermatology professors, in the report that accompanied the study.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, within the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 232,000 cases of malignant melanoma are reported each year, while more than 55,000 people die from skin cancer, annually.