Computer-assisted detection of lung cancer nudules in medical chest X-rays

Master Thesis


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Diagnostic medicine was revolutionized in 1895 with Rontgen's discovery of x-rays. X-ray photography has played a very prominent role in diagnostics of all kinds since then and continues to do so. It is true that more sophisticated and successful medical imaging systems are available. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). However, the hardware instalment and operation costs of these systems remain considerably higher than x-ray systems. Conventional x-ray photography also has the advantage of producing an image in significantly less time than MRI, CT and PET. X-ray photography is still used extensively, especially in third world countries. The routine diagnostic tool for chest complaints is the x-ray. Lung cancer may be diagnosed by the identification of a lung cancer nodule in a chest x-ray. The cure of lung cancer depends upon detection and diagnosis at an early stage. Presently the five-year survival rate of lung cancer patients is approximately 10%. If lung cancer can be detected when the tumour is still small and localized, the five-year survival rate increases to about 40%. However, currently only 20% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at this early stage. Giger et al wrote that "detection and diagnosis of cancerous lung nodules in chest radiographs are among the most important and difficult tasks performed by radiologists".