Melanoma Detection Using Weights & Biases

Identify melanoma in lesion images by extracting image features using a DenseNet121, image encodings, LightGBM, and Weights & Biases.
Anshul Sharma

What is Melanoma?


Melanoma, the most severe type of skin cancer, develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color. Melanoma can also form in your eyes and, rarely, inside your body, such as in your nose or throat.

The exact cause of all melanomas is unclear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds increases your risk of developing melanoma. Limiting your exposure to UV radiation can help reduce your risk of melanoma.

Full code in Kaggle Kernel


The risk of melanoma seems to be increasing in people under 40, especially women. Knowing the warning signs of skin cancer can help ensure that cancerous changes are detected and treated before cancer has spread. Melanoma can be treated successfully if it is detected early.


Melanomas can develop anywhere on your body. They most often develop in areas with exposure to the sun, such as your back, legs, arms, and face.

Melanomas can also occur in areas that do not receive much sun exposure, such as the soles of your feet, palms of your hands and fingernail beds. These hidden melanomas are more common in people with darker skin.

The first melanoma signs and symptoms often include a change in an existing mole, the development of a new pigmented, or unusual-looking growth on your skin. Melanoma does not always begin as a mole. It can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.


Melanoma occurs when something goes wrong in the melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) that give color to your skin.

Usually, skin cells develop in a controlled and orderly way — healthy new cells push older cells toward your skin's surface, where they die and eventually fall off. However, when some cells develop DNA damage, new cells may begin to grow out of control and eventually form a mass of cancerous cells.

UV light does not cause all melanomas, especially those that occur in places on your body that do not receive sunlight exposure. This indicates that other factors may contribute to your risk of melanoma.

Studying the data

For complete code refer to my Kaggle Kernel.

The data required for this project can be accessed from here. Interestingly, there are both tabular and image data. So, I will be extracting the features from Images(image encodings) and then combine it with the tabular data to make the predictions.

Below are some stats about the data:-

Now, let's study the distribution of data across the train and test sets.

Section 3

Exploratory Data Analysis

Now that we have the sense of the data and what we are predicting, it would be better to explore a bit and find if there is something helpful hiding inside the data. If not, at least we can gather some insights for our knowledge.


The image above shows various differential diagnoses of pigmented skin lesions, by relative rates upon biopsy and malignancy potential, including "melanoma" at right.

Below are some insights gathered from the data.

Section 5

Resizing the Images

In this section, I'll be defining the function to resize the images so that it becomes easier to extract features from them as we have a common ground. Also, I'll be plotting some random resized images from the train set and test set.

Full code in Kaggle Kernel

The Image size that I have chosen is 256X256. This is the code I used to resize the images.

#Size to resize(256,256,3)
img_size = 256

def resize_image(img):
    old_size = img.shape[:2]
    ratio = float(img_size)/max(old_size)
    new_size = tuple([int(x*ratio) for x in old_size])
    img = cv2.resize(img, (new_size[1],new_size[0]))
    delta_w = img_size - new_size[1]
    delta_h = img_size - new_size[0]
    top, bottom = delta_h//2, delta_h-(delta_h//2)
    left, right = delta_w//2, delta_w-(delta_w//2)
    color = [0,0,0]
    new_img = cv2.copyMakeBorder(img, top, bottom, left, right,
                            cv2.BORDER_CONSTANT, value=color)
    return new_img

def load_image(path, img_id):
    path = os.path.join(path,img_id+'.jpg')
    img = cv2.imread(path)
    img = cv2.cvtColor(img, cv2.COLOR_BGR2RGB)
    new_img = resize_image(img)
    new_img = preprocess_input(new_img)
    return new_img

Full code in Kaggle Kernel

Extract features from Images

This entire process of extraction of features from images(image encodings) using DenseNet121 takes more than 2 hours. So, to save on time I have created this dataset. It contains all the extracted features and can be used by anyone.

Below the code is also available to get the image encodings.

 img_size = 256
 batch_size = 16 #16 images per batch

 train_img_ids = df_train.image_name.values
 n_batches = len(train_img_ids)//batch_size + 1

 #Model to extract image features
 inp = Input((256,256,3))
 backbone = DenseNet121(input_tensor=inp, include_top=False)
 x = backbone.output
 x = GlobalAveragePooling2D()(x)
 x = Lambda(lambda x: K.expand_dims(x,axis=-1))(x)
 x = AveragePooling1D(4)(x)
 out = Lambda(lambda x: x[:,:,0])(x)

 m = Model(inp,out)

features = {}
for b in tqdm_notebook(range(n_batches)):
     start = b*batch_size
     end = (b+1)*batch_size
     batch_ids = train_img_ids[start:end]
     batch_images = np.zeros((len(batch_ids),img_size,img_size,3))
     for i,img_id in enumerate(batch_ids):
             batch_images[i] = load_image(train_img_path,img_id)
     batch_preds = m.predict(batch_images)
     for i,img_id in enumerate(batch_ids):
         features[img_id] = batch_preds[i]

 train_feats = pd.DataFrame.from_dict(features, orient='index')
 #Save for future reference 

 test_img_ids = df_test.image_name.values
 n_batches = len(test_img_ids)//batch_size + 1

 features = {}
 for b in tqdm_notebook(range(n_batches)):
     start = b*batch_size
     end = (b+1)*batch_size
     batch_ids = test_img_ids[start:end]
     batch_images = np.zeros((len(batch_ids),img_size,img_size,3))
     for i,img_id in enumerate(batch_ids):
             batch_images[i] = load_image(test_img_path,img_id)
     batch_preds = m.predict(batch_images)
     for i,img_id in enumerate(batch_ids):
         features[img_id] = batch_preds[i]

 test_feats = pd.DataFrame.from_dict(features, orient='index')

Later, using these features and the tabular data I'll train an LGBM classifier and make the predictions. The pre-trained NN used here is a DenseNet121. Per image, I'll be extracting 256 features for both the train and test set.


DenseNet Architecture


Normally DenseNet121 would output 1024 features after GlobalAveragePooling. To further narrow it down, I again pool 4 features each.

Training the Model and Hyperparameter Optimization

Finally, after fetching the image encodings, I'll combine them with the tabular data available (patient details like age, sex, diagnosis, e.t.c.) into a single dataframe. Eventually, I'll be using LGBM Classifier to classify the test data into benign/malignant.

Also, I'll perform Hyperparameter Optimization using Bayesian Optimization to find the most optimal hyperparameters for my LightGBM model.

Full code in Kaggle Kernel

Section 11

Making Predictions

After getting the most optimal set of hyperparameters we are only left with just making the predictions on the test set.

Full code in Kaggle Kernel

#Hyparameters obtained through BO 
params = {
       "num_leaves": 90, 
       "max_depth": 6, 
       "learning_rate": 0.002613,
       "bagging_freq": 12, 
       "bagging_fraction": 0.9204, 
       "feature_fraction": 0.9145,

#Making the Predictions
clf = LGBMClassifier(n_estimators=1000,**params)[features],train['target'])
sub_preds = clf.predict_proba(test[features])[:,1]

#Preparing the submission
submission = pd.DataFrame({
    "image_name": df_test.image_name, 
    "target": sub_preds
submission.to_csv('submission.csv', index=False)

The best score I have been able to achieve is 0.8953 on the test set.

I believe performing stacking by using different classifiers like Neural Network, KNeighborsClassifier, SVC e.t.c should definitely help in improving the score.