This paper shows the concurrent use of thermography and artificial neural networks (ANN) for the diagnosis of breast cancer, a disease that is growing in prominence in women all over the world. It has been reported that breast thermography itself could detect breast cancer up to 10 years earlier than the conventional golden methods such as mammography, in particular in the younger patient. However, the accuracy of thermography is dependent on many factors such as the symmetry of the breasts' temperature and temperature stability. A woman's body temperature is known to be stable in certain periods after menstruation and it was found that the accuracy of thermography in women whose thermal images are taken in a suitable period (5th-12th and 21st day of menstruation) is higher (80%) than the total population of patients (73%). The stability of the body temperature will depend on physiological state. This paper examines the use of ANN to complement the infrared heat radiating from the surface of the body with other physiological data. Four backpropagation neural networks were developed and trained using the results from the Singapore General Hospital patients' physiological data and thermographs. Owing to the inaccuracies found in thermography and the low population size gathered for this project, the networks developed could only accurately diagnose about 61.54% of the breast cancer cases. Nevertheless, the basic neural network framework has been established and it has great potential for future development of an intelligent breast cancer diagnosis system. This would be especially useful to the teenagers and young adults who are unsuitable for mammography at a young age. An intelligent breast thermography-neural network will be able to give an accurate diagnosis of breast cancer and can make a positive impact on breast disease detection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management