SkinVision – Melanoma App
I found an iPhone app called SkinVision that allows you to take photos and get analysis of your skin spots and moles. It’s an Australian initiative (not surprising considering Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world) and the goal is to reduce the number of Australians diagnosed with late-stage melanoma. I’m really impressed with it. It’s easy to use, the feedback is instant, it’s informative and I’m sure it’s prompting people to see their doctor as the first step to diagnosis confirmation and treatment of melanoma.
The most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma is no stranger to Australians, and is often called ‘Australia’s national cancer’. In 2013, for example, 4 people died every day from melanoma (1,600 people). When you consider that 90% of people with melanoma can be cured if the primary cancer is removed early, then you will understand why this iPhone app is playing an important role in reducing the mortality stats. Melanoma kills more young Australian’s – between the age of 20 and 39 years old – than any other cancer, and the incidence in people over 60 years of age is high and on the increase.
Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the skin’s pigment cells. Stages of progression are based on tumour size, ulceration and involvement of other organs. Most melanoma diagnosis starts with a physical examination of a suspicious looking spot or mole. The irony of melanoma is that it is both the most deadly cancer and the easiest to treat when caught early. Why a common mole can turn into melanoma is not entirely understood. But there is a clear and resounding link to overexposure to sunlight, and a pattern of sunburns coupled with other relative risk factors such as complexion and family history can add up to greater risk for some people and less risk for others.
SkinVision not only provides an instant risk assessment of each mole you photograph (low, medium, high risk) but it also allows you to keep a history of moles for comparison, so that you can monitor changes in how they look. It also provides a skin type profile and a risk profile based on a set of questions about your colouring, family history and sun exposure routines. You can find a doctor via the app, send them a picture of a mole or moles and make an appointment to discuss if need be. This is called a ‘case’ and you can receive messages directly from your doctor via the app. Top dermatologists and general practitioners around the world are working with SkinVision to support their patients, and it is this fact that has led to the success of the app. You have direct access to images of all manner of skin conditions in order to be able to gauge your situation and subsequently pursue medical advice/treatment.
To-date, 70,000 people have signed up to SkinVision and over 200,000 photos have been taken. I would imagine that those numbers will increase quickly as word of the app grows. It’s such an easy way to start the ‘mole map’ conversation and, in a world where everyone does almost everything from their phone, it’s a genius way to get people involved.
Check it out here
or search for SkinVision in the App Store on your iPhone.
To all Australian’s and those living in other parts of the world where skin cancer is prevalent, remember the good news is that if melanoma is identified at an early stage, simple treatment can result in a complete cure…. in fact 54% of deaths from melanoma could have been prevented.