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Transforming breast cancer diagnoses in Vietnam

Do you know that every year, Vietnam diagnoses over 10,000 new cases of breast cancer, which is the most common cancer for Vietnamese women?

Dr Mai Oanh, Director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute

Dr Tran Thi Mai Oanh, Director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute

In this Women’s Month, let’s hear from Dr Mai Oanh, Director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute (HSPI), a female leader bringing new technology into Vietnam to tackle the issue.

“As you might know, breast cancer is a deadly disease, and it has a lot of negative impacts on the quality of life for women. In Vietnam, most patients presenting with cancer in late stages, making treatment more difficult and leading to lower survival rates.

Early cancer detection is key, and it depends entirely on accurate breast image reading by radiologists. Early detection of breast cancer and accurate diagnosis is therefore so important to improving treatment efficacy and patient prognosis. Currently, diagnostic accuracy in detecting abnormalities on mammograms in Vietnam is around 50%, and we must to look for ways to improve this rate.

Recently, we became aware of a novel approach that has been successfully used in Australia and New Zealand and can improve the accuracy rate of diagnostics to as much as 85%. I was extremely passionate about bringing this new methodology to Vietnam where I think it will be a game changer for our approach to detecting and treating breast cancer.

In partnership with the University of Sydney from Australia, we have applied for a grant under Aus4Innovation Partnership Grants. We are very proud to have been awarded the grant as one of the three successful recipients. We named this novel approach VIETRAD.

With VIETRAD, for the first time ever in Vietnam, there will be an intelligent system using machine learning to test, monitor and improve radiologic diagnosis of breast cancer. We hope to bring our diagnostic accuracy in detecting abnormalities on mammograms to 85%, comparable to efficacy of Australian radiologists. Radiologists in Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City will receive training to use the system.

As breast cancer is the most common cancer for women, it is my ambition that we will be able to extend the application beyond mammograms to ultrasound images to increase accessibility to early breast cancer diagnosis services of women who live in rural and disadvantaged areas. Once we have successfully embedded VIETRAD in our healthcare system, improved diagnosis will guide opportunities for breast cancer treatment and improve the quality of life for the women of Vietnam.”


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