Every October for the last four decades, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has helped to raise visibility of the most prevalent cancer on Earth.
Despite recorded cases stretching back to ancient Egypt, breast cancer was considered an “unspeakable” condition for millennia.
For most of the last century, a woman suffering from breast cancer would be offered radiation therapy and/or surgery while the treatment of other cancers progressed.
Treatment has been transformed in a generation, thanks to new drugs, cutting-edge screening methods and more subtle and effective surgery.
Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly critical role in identifying breast cancer. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) announced a study of how AI could screen for breast cancer this year.
While intended to augment, not replace, human doctors, this would help to mitigate a shortage of radiographers — 2,000 more are needed to clear the NHS’ backlog in scans caused by the pandemic.
The earlier breast cancer is spotted, the earlier it is the easier it is to treat it, the better it is easier to treat.
Startups are also using AI to screen half a million women in rural and semi-urban areas with a low-cost tool that could help screen large numbers of women.