Posts Tagged ‘mammograms’

Do More Examiners Reviewing Results of Mammograms Improve Efficacy of Breast Cancer Detection?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

logo1267406_mdA new study published on Medical Express concluded that five independent assessments lead to better results than one or two. Previous researchers found that usually one or even two physicians in Europe review x-rays from mammograms but even when two review them, results are often wrong. About 20% of women with cancer are diagnosed as being cancer free, and about 20 % of those who are cancer free and diagnosed as having cancer. This lead to the study to evaluate collective vs individual intelligence for efficacy when reviewing x-rays.

Using a data set with a large number of mammograms with an independent assessment of each by about one hundred radiologists  as well as the actual health status with a yes or no for cancer on all patients. They found that five independent assessments lead to better results. Simple collective rules such as majority vote or quorum vote in order integrate the vote was used. Compared to the best physician, a collective intellectual vote allowed both the false positives and false negatives from mammograms to be reduced (sensitivity and specificity) ie: cancer diagnosis but no cancer and no cancer diagnosis but cancer. The collective benefit of mammograms begins to occur when three or four physicians are used for the assessment but the benefit of additional assessments significantly start to level off at about 8 or 10 assessments according to the researchers.