The same technology that powers Siri and face recognition on your iPhone has also found success in medicine. By automatically analyzing microscopic images of breast tumor biopsies, artificial intelligence may one day help guide cancer treatments. This particular type of AI is called deep learning, and over the last few years has become a part of our everyday lives. Its applications continue to expand to areas like language translation and self-driving cars, enabled by massive repositories of data. While deep learning was first applied to recognizing people, cars, and other everyday objects in photographs, it has more recently been adapted to study cancer.
In order to detect cancer, a tissue section is put on a glass slide. Histopathology This involves examining glass tissue slides under a microscope to see if disease is present. In this case, that would be examining tissue samples from lymph nodes in order to detect breast cancer. The images can be several gigabytes in size.
Although breast cancer is often referred to as one disease, there are many different types of breast cancer. Breast cancers differ in other ways. They can be non-invasive or invasive. Tumor cells can vary in location milk ducts or lobules and how they look under a microscope. These differences often affect prognosis.
Metastatic breast cancer is also classified as Stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Ductal carcinoma in situ DCIS is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue.