June 6, 2018, midnight

CBIS-DDSM Mammography Training Data

By : Eric A. Scuccimarra

I am continuing to work with the CBIS-DDSM datasets and recently decided to take a new direction with the training data. Previously I had been locally segmenting the raw scans into images of varying sizes and writing those images to tfrecords to use as training data. I started by classifying the images by pathology with categorical labels, and while I got decent results using this approach, the models performed terribly on images from different datasets and on full-size images. I suspected the model was using features of the images that were not related to the actual ROIs to make its predictions, such as the amount of contrast or presence of extremely high pixel values.

To address this I started using the masks as labels and training the model to do segmentation of the images into normal and ROI. This had the added advantage of allowing me to exclude images from the DDSM dataset and only use CBIS-DDSM images which eliminated the features I believed the previous models had been relying on, as the DDSM and CBIS-DDSM datasets had substantially different variances, mins, maxes and means. The disadvantage of this approach was that the dataset was double the size due to the fact that the labels are now the same size as the images. 

I started with a dataset of 320x320 images, however models trained on this dataset often had trouble with images which had bright patches running of the edge of the image and images with high contrast, misclassifying the bright patches as positive. To attempt to address this I started training the model on 320x320 images, and then switched to another dataset of 640x640 images after training through 50 or so epochs. 

The dataset of 640x640 images only had 13,000 training examples in it, about 1/3 the number of examples in the 320x320 dataset, but was still larger due to the fact that each example and label is four times the size of the 320x320 images. I considered making another dataset with either more or larger images, but saw that this process could continue indefinitely as I had to keep creating new datasets of larger and larger size.

Instead I decided to create one new dataset which could be used indefinitely, for all purposes. To do this I loaded each image in the CBIS-DDSM dataset into Python. While the JPEGS are RGB, the images are grayscale so I only kept one channel of each image. I Some images have multiple masks, and rather than have multiple versions of each image with different masks, which could confuse the model, I combined all masks for each image into one mask, and then added that as the second channel of each image. In order to be able to save the array as an image I added a third channel of all 0s. Each new images was then saved as a PNG.

The resulting dataset is about 12GB, about four times the size of the largest tfrecords dataset, but the entirety of the CBIS-DDSM dataset (minus a few images which had masks of incorrect sizes and were discarded) is now represented. Now, in my model, I load each full image and then take a random crop of it and use that as training data. Since the mask is part of the image I can use TensorFlow's random crop function to crop the full image, and then separate the channels into the training example and it's label. 

This not only increases the size of the training data set exponentially, but since my model is fully convolutional, I can also easily change the crop size without having to create a new dataset. 

The major problem with this approach is that the mean of the labels is very low - around 0.015 - meaning that only 1% of the pixels have a positive label and the rest are negative. The previous dataset had a mean of 0.05. This will be addressed by raising the cross entropy weight from 20 to 75 so that the model doesn't just predict everything as negative. When creating the images I had trimmed as much background as possible from them to avoid having a large amount of training images of pure black, but still the random cropping produces a large number of images with little to no actual content. 

At the moment I am uploading the data to S3 which should take another couple days. Once this is done I will attempt to train on this new dataset and see if the empty images cause major problems.

Labels: coding , python , machine_learning , mammography

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