I recently hosted a panel of breast radiologists at the Society of Breast Imaging Symposium to discuss the lessons learned regarding the optimal positioning for breast cancer detection.
Even though I’ve worked in healthcare for years, I had never realized until this panel discussion how important positioning is during a mammogram. As panelist Professor Ruud Pijnappel, MD of the Dutch Expert Center for Breast Screening program (the world’s leading independent authority on quality assurance) said, “You cannot detect what you cannot see.”
Small cancers can remain hidden in images that are not clear or in the margins (outside edges). The next time your technician is stretching your breast onto the imaging machine, especially up against the chest wall, or asking you to hold your breath while they capture your image, they are working diligently to ensure that your image will be as clear as possible for the radiologist to read.
As I mentioned in my last blog, When It Comes to Early Detection of Breast Cancer, Luck Should Have Nothing To Do With It!, I became aware of how lucky I was that my small mass was found tucked against my chest wall. To detect my mass, it required that a technician accurately positioned me and that the radiologist reading my mammogram identified this small spot in the margins of my mammogram.
Dr. Randy Hicks, MD, CEO of Regional Medical Imaging located in the US shared the worry he experiences when the images are not clear and he has to determine whether to call a woman back to retake the image or the anxiety he feels if they don’t call her back only to later learn that they have breast cancer.
As a result of participating in the panel I realized the routine breast screening process is worrisome for both the women being screened as well as the professionals who are dedicated to detecting early-stage breast cancer.
The benefit of Kheiron’s MiaIQ model is that it helps the technician detect when a woman is correctly positioned for an optimal image and Kheiron’s Mia model assists the radiologist in detecting cancer within the mammogram image. Both AI solutions contribute to reducing the risk within the current human-dependent screening process and the resulting worries for both women and mammography professionals.
So, rather than being lucky, we all need an angel on our shoulder to reduce the worry that comes with uncertainties in the screening process.
AI will be the angel on all of our shoulders!