According to reports, every year in India over 67000 women die due to cervical cancer. India accounts for 25% of 260000 yearly worldwide cervical cancer deaths. In some cases, cancer can be preventable with early detection, so the solution could be a more effective screening. According to Microsoft, the introduction of AI technology might facilitate faster analysis of Pap smear samples.

Just to let you know, in 2018, Microsoft had partnered with SRL Diagnostics in order to create an AI network for Pathology. SRL Diagnostics does cytoanalysis on over 100,000 Pap smear samples every year. With the assistance of AI technology, cytopathologists will be more efficient in terms of screening.

Dr. Arnab Roy, Technical Lead for New Initiatives & Knowledge Management of SRL Diagnostics said: “We were looking for ways to ensure our cytopathologists were able to find those 2% abnormal samples faster.”

Microsoft will develop AI algorithm for early cervical cancer detection
Microsoft will develop AI algorithm for early cervical cancer detection

He further said: “Different cytopathologists examine different elements in a smear slide in a unique manner even if the overall diagnosis is the same. This is the subjectivity element in the whole process, which many a time is linked to the experience of the expert.”

Manish Gupta, Principal Applied Researcher of Microsoft Azure Global Engineering said that the AI algorithm helps with discrepancies between cytopathologists and can “create a consensus on the areas assessed.”

Microsoft created the AI algorithm based on thousands of annotations of cervical smears made by cytopathologists from multiple labs.

Microsoft stated, “The images for which annotations were found to be discordant — that is if they were viewed differently by three team members — were sent to senior cytopathologists for final analysis.”

AI technology has the potential to play a big role in early diagnosis of many pathologies including oral, pancreatic and liver cancer and will undoubtedly lead to huge advancements in the field of medicine which will, in turn, save thousands of lives every year.