During summers, we are exposed more than usual to the harsh UV rays of the sun. This can lead to skin cancer, which accounts for more diagnoses each year than all other cancers.
Early detection is the key when it comes to skin cancer and it could be as simple as a mole identification. Several smartphone apps have come which make self-examination of skin abnormalities easier. It saves us the trouble of going to a doctor, although one can’t be 100 per cent reliant on these apps.
With these apps, you can capture photos of the moles that you think are suspicious and track them over time yourself. You can even send them to a dermatologist for examination. These apps can revolutionise healthcare with time, cutting down time on diagnosing deadly ailments.
Telemedicine is a growing field and it has now expanded to skin care as well. A few skin cancer detection apps are available, which allows your phone to analyse your skin using artificial intelligence algorithm, reported C Net.
The apps do various things like sending the photo to the dermatologist, providing instant feedback, scheduling doctor’s appointments and giving reminders to check the skin. Here are few apps that you can download onto your phone:
This app uses mole mapping to analyse the skin. Due to its high-definition camera, it provides more insight than a normal digital photo. The app takes magnified images of large areas of your skin, like your entire arm or leg.
It then saves the photos in a separate folder in your phone so that you can analyse if the moles are growing over time and is helpful in detecting changes. It performs a similar function that dermatologists do- they do a clinical full-body scan to pick up on any moles or abnormal lesions on the skin.
This app, developed by the University of Michigan, allows you to do a full-body scan and a skin cancer self-exam. It keeps of a track of skin lesions, moles and other growths on the surface of the skin. Additionally, the app provides guides on how to complete the scan, complete with detailed instructions, informational videos and articles.
The app also has an in-built melanoma risk calculator. It sends push reminders to the users to follow-up on their self-exam or with doctor’s appointments. The user can set how often they want to check their body and accordingly set reminders on the app.
This is similar to Miiskin and takes magnified images of the skin. It then analyses the photos using the ABCD method to assess skin marks and moles:Asymmetry: If the moles are irregularly shaped.Border: If the edges of the moles are bump or blurry.Colour: Unevenly coloured moles such as red and blue.Diameter: Change in the mole size greater than 6mm.
This app claims to help in early detection of melanoma. It analyses photos of your skin using a technology called convolutional neural network (CNN), an algorithm that filters laeys of the photos based on abstract functions.
Although this app is backed by a panel of dermatologists, they also caution against relying on them. "I would not recommend that patients avoid these apps, but I would approach their results with cautious skepticism," said Dr Daniel Friedmann of Westlake Dermatology "and counsel patients that suspicious lesions are best evaluated in-office."