Better breast cancer detection should be every woman’s right

Breast cancer is the world’s most prevalent cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among women in many countries. Yet globally, the majority of women don’t have access to screening — or only have access to inadequate screening.

We’re here to change that. And it all begins by informing you about your options for better breast cancer screening.

What is breast cancer screening?

Breast cancer screening is the process doctors use to check a woman’s breasts for cancer — even when there are no signs or symptoms. Although this process cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find it early, when it’s easier to treat. And that’s critical.

Who can get breast cancer?

Any woman can get breast cancer, but your risk increases as you age, and is highest over age 50.

As a result, women between ages 50 and 74 are recommended to get breast cancer screening every two years. However, depending upon where you live, and other factors (e.g., your family history, genetics, lifestyle, race, ethnicity, etc.) you may be at a higher or lower risk. Talk to your doctor — they should be able to inform you of your best screening options.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray image of the breast — and for most women, a mammogram is the best test available to find early signs of breast cancer.

A mammogram can reveal cancer when it’s still tiny and your chances for successful treatment are at their highest. Get screened!

What happens after you get a mammogram?

Usually a radiologist (or in some countries, two, or even three, radiologists) will read your mammogram and then report the results to you and your doctor. If the mammogram is normal, your doctor will tell you to continue to get mammograms regularly (e.g., every two years). If you visit the same screening unit, every future mammogram you receive will be compared with the previous ones, and the radiologists will compare the images, looking for changes. You may consider keeping your mammograms yourself (e.g., on a CD or thumb drive) if possible.

If you have an abnormal mammogram, it does not always mean you have cancer. But you will need to have additional mammograms, tests, or exams before the doctor can know for sure. You may also be referred to a breast specialist or a surgeon for further review.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to computer applications developed by scientists and engineers to examine a large amount of data, identify patterns in that data, and then use that data to make decisions.

The science behind artificial intelligence (AI) is based on the concept of studying how the human brain processes information, then building computer systems that function in a similar, but much simpler, way.

How artificial intelligence can help with breast cancer detection
Vara uses AI to give radiologists a clinically meaningful advantage when reviewing your mammogram.

Our AI was developed by processing millions of high-quality mammograms — many with, and many without, cancers. And because it’s computer-based, our AI can process more images than countless humans could in countless lifetimes.

Through those images, Vara has been trained to identify patterns and answer the questions: What looks normal? What looks suspicious?

And our AI is constantly getting smarter. The more images it sees, the more accurate it gets — and always validating it for improved performance and reliability.

When we equip radiologists with our AI, it can tell them what to focus on - and what to double, or even triple, check.

We believe the breast screening process should always involve humans, and that humans should always make final decisions.

But we also believe that all radiologists should have their decisions enhanced with AI.

Breast cancer screening involves some highly routine procedures in which humans are simply not as good as computers (humans get fatigued by routine; computers do not).

We designed Vara to combine the strengths of humans and the strengths of AI to make them both better.

We call this the “Decision Referral Pathway”, and believe it will give both women and radiologists reassurance and confidence.

By combining the technological capabilities of our AI with the human expertise of the world’s best physicians,

we can help radiologists all around the world detect deadly breast cancers early - so that more cancers are caught early and treated successfully.

And that’s at the heart of our mission

to detect every deadly breast cancer early, every time — for better outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

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