Study at Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute Shows Artificial Intelligence + 3D Mammography Help Detect Breast Cancer Earlier
MIAMI, FL – March 3, 2023 – A study by breast radiologists at Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital reveal that adding artificial intelligence (AI) technology to existing 3D mammography for breast cancer screening helps catch cancers before they can be detected by the human eye on images. The Institute is the only site in South Florida that offers this particular AI-enhanced digital breast imaging.
“With AI, we are finding cancers years before we would find them without AI. This technology is having a significant impact. We are seeing that less therapy is needed for our patients. They may not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy,” says investigator Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute at Baptist Health Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women in the U.S., and nearly 300,000 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2023, according to the American Cancer Society.
An early adopter of AI, Dr. Schilling’s curiosity drove her to conduct a retrospective evaluation of the Institute’s experience. She presented those results, “Real-world Breast Cancer Screening Performance with Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Before and After Implementation of an Artificial Intelligence Detection System,” at the European Congress of Radiology meeting in Vienna on March 3.
The Institute began using AI in 2020 in the hopes that its dedicated breast radiologists would find more cancers in their early stage, when they are most treatable. “We were already outperforming expected detection rate benchmarks from the American College of Radiology,” Dr. Schilling says, “but as volumes increased, we wanted to ensure quality and increase our confidence.”
Her findings were even more dramatic than expected. Cancer detection rates rose from 5.77/1000 women to 7.8/1000 women screened, a 23% increase in detection. Each of the radiologists improved in accuracy and there was no change in recall rates, meaning that there were no more false positives than usual. The full abstract can be read here.
Improvements in imaging technology have led to increased demands on radiologists, Dr. Schilling says. “When we read 2D mammograms, there were two images per breast so I would have been seeing about 400 images a day, 2,000 a week and 80,000 images a year,” she explains. “With 3D, we are seeing 1 mm slices, so up to 280 images per exam, 28,000 a day and 5.6 million images a year. You get very fatigued and mesmerized scrolling through each exam, but you don’t want to miss a cancer.”
AI will never replace radiologists, whose rapport with patients is important, Dr. Schilling says, but the technology and deep-learning abilities make it possible to flag suspicious areas for a more thorough look by the physician.
Dr. Schilling’s study is moving to the next phase, where she will investigate the size and stage of cancers upon diagnosis at Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute pre- and post-AI implementation. In addition, she is the local principal investigator for “Contrast-Enhanced Mammography Imaging Screening Trial (CMIST),” a multicenter national trial supported by GE Healthcare and the American College of Radiology. The study is looking at contrast-enhanced mammography in patients with dense breasts. Some 40% of women have dense breasts, making it more difficult to detect breast cancer using mammography alone.
About Baptist Health Cancer Care
Baptist Health Cancer Care is the largest cancer program in South Florida, providing local, out-of-state and international patients with the most advanced cancer care. With locations from the Florida Keys to the Palm Beaches, the program provides cancer patients access to a full array of innovative clinical trials, physicians dedicated to bringing discovery to the bedside, access to personalized cancer treatments and comprehensive patient support services – all delivered with unparalleled compassion. Baptist Health Cancer Care includes its state-of-the-art premier institutes, Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health Lynn Cancer Institute, with renowned subspecialized surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, and highly advanced technologies available to treat every common and rare cancer.
Baptist Health Cancer Care is part of Baptist Health, based in South Florida, providing care through a network of 12 hospitals as well as more than 150 outpatient facilities and physician practices, welcoming more than 1.5 million patients from around the world each year. Baptist Health Cancer Care is also Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, an alliance based on common standards of care and many shared clinical trials.
To learn more about Baptist Health Cancer Care, visit Baptisthealth.net/Cancercare.