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We introduce Region of Interest Contrast Enhancement (RICE) to identify focal densities in mammograms. It aims to help radiologists: 1) enhancing the contrast of mammographic images; and 2) detecting regions of interest (such as focal densities) that are candidate masses potentially masked behind dense parenchyma. Cancer masking is an unsolved issue, particularly in breast density categories BI-RADS C and D. RICE suppresses normal breast parenchyma in order to highlight focal densities. Unlike methods that enhance mammograms by modifying the dynamic range of an image; RICE relies on the actual tissue composition of the breast. It segments Volumetric Breast Density (VBD) maps into smaller regions and then applies a recursive mechanism to estimate the 'neighbourhood' for each segment. The method then subtracts and updates the neighbourhood, or the encompassing tissue, from each piecewise constant component of the breast image. This not only enhances the appearance of a candidate mass but also helps in estimating the mass density. In extensive experiments, RICE enhances focal densities in all breast density types including the most challenging category BI-RADS D. Suitably adapted, RICE can be used as a precursor to any computer-aided diagnostics and detection system.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Image Anal

Publication Date





Breast Cancer, Breast Density, Cancer Masking, Contrast Enhancement, Focal Density, Image Enhancement