From this book "Deep Learning and Convolutional Neural Networks for Medical Image Computing"

Recent statistical data published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 23% of cancer-related cases and 14% of cancer-related deaths among women are due to breast cancer. The most effective tool to reduce the burden associated with breast cancer consists of early detection in asymptomatic women via breast cancer screening programs, which commonly use mammography for breast imaging. Breast screening using mammography comprises several steps, which include the detection and analysis of lesions, such as masses and calcifications, that are used in order to estimate the risk that the patient is developing breast cancer.

usually I see "consists of" is followed by at least 2 items/elements/factors, such as "consists of A and B"

"consists of" here is followed by only one item, that is, early detection, Is it idiomatic to use "consists of" this way?

  • 1
    I wouldn't ever use "consists of" in this sentence, both because, as you say, "consists of" one thing sounds strange, and "a tool...consists of A and B" still sounds bad. There's probably no good reason not to use "is."
    – Juhasz
    Jul 22, 2019 at 3:33
  • Your comments is helpful. Please mv it to answer, I'll accept it.
    – user98358
    Jul 22, 2019 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


The verb consist means to be made up of, or composed of something. Source: Vocabulary.com

You are correct that it is usually used when talking about being made up of multiple things, however, there is not technically a need for this.

The author probably wants to convey that this isn't the only tool used to reduce the burden associated with breast cancer, just one method. The fact they are talking about "the most effective [one]" does make it a little strange to use this though. It could be that this alone isn't the most effective tool, it must be used in conjunction with other methods.

Obviously, without knowing the specific reasons why the author used this phrase the last paragraph is just speculative.

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