Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Can Artificial Intelligence Identify Prostate Cancer Better Than a Doctor?

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Sep 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The human brain has a great ability to recognize patterns in the world around us. However, as technology continues to advance, computer programs may be better at seeing patterns and predicting outcomes. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being evaluated to identify diseases and cancers, to improve patient outcomes.  

Prostate Cancer Research Using AI

Research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh is looking at identifying prostate cancer using an artificial intelligence (AI) program. Researchers have developed an AI algorithm to evaluate patient tissue scans to identify and categorize cancer. 

Researchers used more than a million biopsy slides, labeled by expert pathologists, to teach the computer program how to differentiate between healthy and abnormal tissue. The program then tested 1,600 slides of patients for prostate cancer. The results showed 98% sensitivity and 97% specificity at detecting prostate cancer. 

According to senior author, Dr. Rajiv Dhir, “Humans are good at recognizing anomalies, but they have their own biases or past experience.” The research has been published in The Lancet and shows the highest accuracy to date in detecting and categorizing prostate cancer. 

In addition to identifying the abnormal tissue samples, the program was also able to categorize the tumors for grading, size, and invasion of surrounding nerves, which are required features of a pathology report. The AI program even identified 6 slides that were not noted by the expert doctors.  

Using AI for Other Cancer Detection 

AI is being researched in its application for improving cancer diagnostics for many types of cancers. NYU Langone's Perlmutter Cancer Center is using an AI program as a diagnostic test for cancer. In one case, before doctors were going to treat a patient for a certain type of cancer in the brain. An AI test showed it was a different type entirely and treatment for the wrong cancer could have had harmful effects without destroying the cancer.   

Researchers at MIT are also looking at catching cancer early on, to increase survival rates. A computer scientist collected almost 89,000 mammograms from about 40,000 women who had been screened for breast cancer over a 4-year period, identifying the women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The computer program put 31% of the women who developed breast cancer into the highest risk group while the physician's model only placed 18% into that group. 

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men. More than a million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Prostate cancer can develop without symptoms for many men and it is often diagnosed at late stages, which can be fatal. Risk factors of prostate cancer include age, obesity, family history of prostate cancer, and certain inherited genetic conditions. 

While many men do not show symptoms, some patients may show symptoms early on. Signs and symptoms of possible prostate cancer may include: 

  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Frequent urination or weak stream of urine
  • Inability to empty the bladder
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Painful erection

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Malpractice

If your prostate cancer has been mishandled by a health care provider, contact Gilman & Bedigian for answers. To speak with a member of our personal injury team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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