Washington: A free
new app called UMSkinCheck, designed for iPhone and iPad, will
screen skin cancers by reminding users to compare unusual growths
on their skin with actual photos provided by the app.
A collaboration of the University of Michigan Medical School
technology and clinical expertise, the app guides users through a
series of 23 photos, covering the body from head to toe.
Photos are stored within the app and serve as a baseline for
future comparisons. The app will create a reminder to repeat a
skin self-exam on a regular basis.
If a mole appears to be changing or growing, the photos can then
be shared with a dermatologist to help determine whether a biopsy
is necessary, according to a Michigan statement.
"We recommend skin self-exams for everyone in order to detect skin
cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment is less invasive and
more successful," said Michael Sabel, associate professor of
surgery at the Michigan Medical School, who led the project to
develop the app.
"If you have fair skin or burn easily, have had sunburns in the
past or used tanning beds, or have a family history of melanoma,
you are considered high-risk, and so it's even more important,"
"Whole body photography is a well-established resource for
following patients at risk for melanoma, (the most dangerous form
of skin cancer)," said Sabel.
"However, it requires a professional photographer, is not always
covered by insurance, and can be an inconvenience. Now that many
people have digital cameras on their phones, it's more feasible to
do this at home," added Sabel.
More than two million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer
each year, and some 50,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma.
Regular skin checks can help people discover melanoma in its