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Microsoft uses AI to diagnose cervical cancer faster in India

More women in India die from cervical cancer than in any other country. This preventable disease kills around 67,000 women in India every year, more than 25% of the 260,000 deaths worldwide.
Effective screening and early detection can help reduce its incidence, but part of the challenge — and there are several parts — today is that the testing process to detect the onset of the disease is unbearably time-consuming.
This is because the existing methodology that cytopathologists use is time consuming to begin with, but also because there are very few of them in the nation. Could AI speed this up?
At SRL Diagnostics, the largest chain to offer diagnostic services in pathology and radiology in India, we are getting an early look of this. Last year, Microsoft partnered with SRL Diagnostics to co-create an AI Network for Pathology to ease the burden of cytopathologists and histopathologists.
SRL Diagnostics receives more than 100,000 Pap smear samples every year. About 98% of these samples are typically normal and only the remaining 2% samples require intervention. “We were looking for ways to ensure our cytopathologists were able to find those 2% abnormal samples faster,” explained Dr. Arnab Roy, Technical Lead for New Initiatives & Knowledge Management at SRL Diagnostics.
Cytopathologists at SRL Diagnostics studied digitally scanned versions of Whole Slide Imaging (WSI) slides, each comprising about 300-400 cells, manually and marked their observations, which were used as training data for Cervical Cancer Image Detection API.
Microsoft uses AI to diagnose cervical cancer faster in India
A digitally scanned version of a Whole Slide Imaging (WSI) slide, which is used to train the AI model
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