GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Doctors at University of Michigan Health-West are using artificial intelligence to better detect breast cancer and predict who might develop it.

“First of all, (AI) can detect the cancer and aid the radiologist, when he looks at the mammogram, to actually see where a lesion might be,” said Dr. Mark Traill with UM Health-West.

Traill said he has also worked on developing a risk algorithm, which can assess a patient’s likelihood of getting breast cancer in the next 12 months. Unlike a traditional family history analysis, the risk algorithm is based on images.

“(The algorithm) is actually able to detect changes that happen before a cancer is clinically visible for the radiologist,” Traill explained. “There’s actually some deformity occurring in the breast as the cancer develops. You don’t have a normal breast and all of the sudden the cancer pops up out of nowhere. There’s a progression. And this algorithm can move the clock back and actually see the changes in the breast before the human can.”

It’s all about early detection, according to Traill.

“If your risk algorithm is showing you a warning, that is a motivator to make sure you adhere to your annual screening mammogram regime and hopefully catch it early,” he said. “If you can give somebody some information that’s empowering, they can have more control over their health.”