Moein Sorkhei, Yue Liu, Hossein Azizpour, Edward Azavedo, Karin Dembrower, Dimitra Ntoula, Athanasios Zouzos, Fredrik Strand, Kevin Smith
Interval and large invasive breast cancers, which are associated with worse prognosis than other cancers, are usually detected at a late stage due to false negative assessments of screening mammograms. The missed screening-time detection is commonly caused by the tumor being obscured by its surrounding breast tissues, a phenomenon called masking. To study and benchmark mammographic masking of cancer, in this work we introduce CSAW-M, the largest public mammographic dataset, collected from over 10,000 individuals and annotated with potential masking. In contrast to the previous approaches which measure breast image density as a proxy, our dataset directly provides annotations of masking potential assessments from five specialists. We also trained deep learning models on CSAW-M to estimate the masking level and showed that the estimated masking is significantly more predictive of screening participants diagnosed with interval and large invasive cancers -- without being explicitly trained for these tasks -- than its breast density counterparts.