A Hybrid Algorithm of ML and XAI to Prevent Breast Cancer: A Strategy to Support Decision Making

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Apr 25;15(9):2443. doi: 10.3390/cancers15092443.


Worldwide, the coronavirus has intensified the management problems of health services, significantly harming patients. Some of the most affected processes have been cancer patients' prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Breast cancer is the most affected, with more than 20 million cases and at least 10 million deaths by 2020. Various studies have been carried out to support the management of this disease globally. This paper presents a decision support strategy for health teams based on machine learning (ML) tools and explainability algorithms (XAI). The main methodological contributions are: first, the evaluation of different ML algorithms that allow classifying patients with and without cancer from the available dataset; and second, an ML methodology mixed with an XAI algorithm, which makes it possible to predict the disease and interpret the variables and how they affect the health of patients. The results show that first, the XGBoost Algorithm has a better predictive capacity, with an accuracy of 0.813 for the train data and 0.81 for the test data; and second, with the SHAP algorithm, it is possible to know the relevant variables and their level of significance in the prediction, and to quantify the impact on the clinical condition of the patients, which will allow health teams to offer early and personalized alerts for each patient.

Keywords: breast cancer prevention; decision support systems; explainable artificial intelligence; machine learning; risk factors.

Grants and funding

Hugo Núñez Delafuente and Jimmy H. Gutiérrez-Bahamondes received funding support from the Chilean National Agency of Research and Development, ANID, and scholarship grant program PFCHA/Doctorado Becas Chile, 2021-21211244 and 2018-21182013, respectively.