July 20, 2020
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Deep learning-based image evaluation for cervical precancer screening with a smartphone targeting low resource settings – engineering approach

Liming Hu, Matthew P. Horning, Dipayan Banik, Olusegun Kayode Ajenifuja, Clement Akinfolarin Adepiti, Karen Yeates, Zac Mtema, Ben Wilson, Courosh Mehanian

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women and still one of the major causes of women’s death around the world. Early screening of high grade Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN), precursors to cervical cancer, is vital to efforts aimed at improving survival rate and eventually eliminating cervical cancer. Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA) is an assessment method which can inspect the cervix and potentially detect lesions caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a major cause of cervical cancer. VIA has the potential to be an effective screening method in low resource settings when triaged with HPV test, but it has the drawback that it depends on the subjective evaluation of health workers with varying levels of training. A new deep learning algorithm called Automated Visual Evaluation (AVE) for analyzing cervigram images has been recently reported that can automatically detect cervical precancer better than human experts. In this paper, we address the question of whether mobile phone-based cervical cancer screening is feasible. We consider the capabilities of two key components of a mobile phone platform for cervical cancer screening: (1) the core AVE algorithm and (2) an image quality algorithm. We consider both accuracy and speed in our assessment. We show that the core AVE algorithm, by refactoring to a new deep learning detection framework, can run in ~30 seconds on a low-end smartphone (i.e. Samsung J8), with equivalent accuracy. We developed an image quality algorithm that can localize the cervix and assess image quality in ~1 second on a low-end smartphone, achieving an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 0.95. Field validation of the mobile phone platform for cervical cancer screening is in progress.

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