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New electronic test is ten per cent more accurate than dermatologists at detecting skin cancer

Australian researchers have praised a computer that has been hailed for being better than an international team of specialists at detecting skin cancer.

Scientists from Germany, the United States and France developed an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images.

The computer was found to offer more accuracy and fast diagnostics than 58 dermatologists from 17 countries, when shown photos of malignant melanomas and benign moles.

Australian researchers have praised a computer that has been hailed for being better than an international team of specialists at detecting skin cancer

Scientists from Germany, the U.S. and France developed an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images

Scientists from Germany, the U.S. and France developed an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images

On average, flesh and blood dermatologists accurately detected 86.6 percent of skin cancers from the images, compared to 95 percent for the machine, known as a convolutional neural network or CNN.

Australian experts Victoria Mar, from Melbourne’s Monash University, and Peter Soyer from the University of Queensland said it was a major breakthrough in detecting skin cancers.

‘Currently, there is no substitute for a thorough clinical examination,’ they wrote in a study published in the Annals of Oncology. 

The machine was tested against a majority of dermatologists who were at ‘expert’ level with more than five years of experience.

Another 19 per cent of specialists had between two and five years’ experience, and 29 per cent were beginners with less than two years in their field.

‘Most dermatologists were outperformed by the CNN,’  study author Holger Haenssle from University of Heidelberg said.

The computer was found to offer more accuracy and fast diagnostics than 58 dermatologists from 17 countries, when shown photos of malignant melanomas and benign moles (Sydney's Bondi Beach pictured)

The computer was found to offer more accuracy and fast diagnostics than 58 dermatologists from 17 countries, when shown photos of malignant melanomas and benign moles (Sydney’s Bondi Beach pictured)

‘The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists.’  

It also ‘misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma… this would result in less unneccessary surgery’.

The dermatologists’ performance improved when they were given more information of the patients and their skin lesions.

Australian experts Victoria Mar (pictured), from Melbourne's Monash University, and Peter Soyer from the University of Queensland said it was a major breakthrough in detecting skin cancers

Australian experts Victoria Mar (pictured), from Melbourne’s Monash University, and Peter Soyer from the University of Queensland said it was a major breakthrough in detecting skin cancers

The team said artificial intelligence may be a useful tool for faster, easier diagnosis of skin cancer, allowing surgical removal before it spreads.

There are about 232,000 new cases of melanoma, and 55,500 deaths, in the world each year, they added.

But it is unlikely that a machine will take over from human doctors entirely, rather functioning as an aid.

Melanoma in some parts of the body, such as the fingers, toes and scalp, are difficult to image, and AI may have difficulty recognising ‘atypical’ lesions or ones that patients themselves are unaware of.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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