Using Bayesian surprise to detect calcifications in mammogram images

Breast Cancer is still a serious health threat to women, both physically and psychologically. Fortunately, treatments involving complete breast removal are rarely needed today, as better treatment options are available. Mammography can show changes in the breast up to two years before a physician can feel them. Computer-aided detection and diagnosis is considered to be one of the most promising approaches that may improve the efficiency of mammography. Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between the presence of calcifications and the occurrence of breast cancer. In this paper we present a new technique to detect calcifications in mammogram images.

The main objective is to support radiologists with automatic detection methods applied to medical images. Motivated by the fact that calcifications, when compared to the rest of the image, exhibit irregular characteristics, a technique based on Bayesian surprise is used. Tests were performed using INBreast, a recent fully annotated database, composed of full field digital mammograms. Comparison both with a recently proposed state of the art method and other common image techniques showed the superiority of our method. False positives are, however, still an issue and further studies focused on their reduction while maintaining a high sensitivity are planned.

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