This is why skin cancer checks are incredibly important to your health.
Many skin cancer check apps are being advertised as automated dermatologists that can detect skin cancer; however, you should never let an app take the place of your dermatologist.
TWO TYPES OF APPS A USER WILL FIND
There are two types of skin cancer apps an individual can find:
An algorithm app uses a mathematical algorithm such as fractal geometry to analyze a photo and classify risk.
The second app is a doctor report app that will give the user the ability to chart his or her moles over a period of time and send the pictures to a dermatologist.
SKINVISION | MATHEMATICAL BASED
SkinVision was founded in 2011 and deemed clinically proven in 2013.
This app claims to detect early signs of melanoma by using fractal geometry, which was developed by Benoit Mandelbrot in the 1970s.
SkinVision uses fractal geometry to map moles and its irregularities.
The way this app works:
- Take a picture. Your picture will be put through a clinically proven technology that is looking for early warning signs (an algorithm). An assessment can be done in 30 minutes.
- Reading the risk assessment. An individual can get one of three responses (good to go, get it checked out or receive a check immediately.)
- If an individual receives the last two options, the app tells him or her to schedule a check-up.
SkinVision is set up on a pricing system and can be used for IOS or Android.
MOLEXPLORE | DOCTOR REPORT
Molexplore Melanoma Skin Cancer App, only available on Android phones, claims to self-monitor spots on an individual’s skin, detecting various skin problems including cancer like melanoma.
This app asks an individual to take pictures of his or her moles to map them on his or her skin. This individual can provide notes, have backup copies and be encrypted.
This app can house multiple members per account.
Molexplore gives ABCDE documentation. Read more about ABCDE from our blog here.
If an individual gives the app his or her location, this app can chart UV index. To read more about UV index, check out one of our other blogs here.
MYSKINPAL | DOCTOR REPORT
MySkinPal can be used for IOS or Android.
How it works:
- Take a picture. This app stores all of an individual's skin pictures on the app with dates and notes.
- Analyze. A user has the ability to scroll through a timeline of pictures to watch how the mole evolves.
- Reminders. MySkinPal sends a user a reminder to keep taking pictures of his or her moles.
- Share. If the evolution of a mole is scaring a user, he or she has the ability to share it with his or her dermatologist.
- Family. This app allows multiple users per account.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T REPLACE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST WITH AN APP
Apps that claim to determine skin cancer should not replace your dermatologist.
In a study done by the Australasian Journal Of Dermatology, from the 42 lesions that had been labeled as clinically suspicious, 9 to 26 were labeled suspicious, and from 15 of the benign lesions, 3 to 15 were correctly labeled benign.
The apps mentioned above are not bad; however, they should only be used in the initial stage of awareness. These apps should be used for education and encouragement to perform self-exams.
Be aware, there are apps out there (not mentioned above) that claim to detect skin cancer; however, they cannot.
Do not substitute an app for a dermatologist. Only a clinical dermatologist can provide a total diagnosis.
To have a positive outcome, especially in the case of possible melanoma, contact a dermatologist.
SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER
The most common types of pre-cancers and skin cancers are: actinic keratosis, atypical moles, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
We’ve written an in-depth blog about these common types. Click here to read more.
Melanoma causes the most deaths of any skin cancers. While moles are not cancerous, they can be early signs of melanoma.
To monitor changes in your moles, you can use the ABCDE method:
- A: Asymmetrical
- B: Border
- C: Color
- D: Diameter
- E: Evolving
Protecting your skin from ultraviolet radiation is easy, but consistency is key. To learn how to protect your skin including wearing sunscreen or sunblock, click here to read our in-depth blog.
DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH | SKIN CANCER CHECKS | SKIN CANCER PREVENTION
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, we believe that an app cannot compare to a trained dermatologist.
That’s why we recommend making an appointment if you notice any changes to your moles or skin.
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, our primary goal is to help our patients develop lifelong skin care habits that keep them cancer-free. We develop positive relationships with our patients, making annual skin checks a comfortable experience.
If you would like to schedule a skin cancer check in Morgantown, call (304) 598-3888.
Want to research more about skin cancer prevention?