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Can smartphone apps detect skin cancer?

Posted by National Skin Cancer Centres on Feb 14, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Do smartphone apps that assess moles for skin cancer actually work? Some new research suggests these popular apps might not be a reliable method of detecting all forms of skin cancer.

A recent review of nine different studies found that some skin cancer detection apps were missing melanomas and incorrectly flagging harmless moles as suspicious.

The assessment of SkinVision and SkinScan revealed that the European apps performed poorly and could not safely be recommended for use.

The apps were found to be limited in their ability to reliably identify melanomas, which need to be detected early for the best chances of successful treatment and cure.

The authors of the review said that prompt and accurate detection of skin cancer is crucial, which is why unreliable methods of diagnosis such as smartphone apps need to be used with caution.

Around 800,000 skin cancers are diagnosed every year in Australia, with melanoma being the most common cancer affecting young Australians aged 15-39.

Living in the country with the highest skin cancer rate in the world, it's vital for all Australians to monitor their skin frequently for any new or changing moles, and see a skin cancer doctor at least once a year for a professional skin check.

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Topics: Detection, Research