New Phone App Can Screen You for Skin Cancer

Phone app
A phone app that can detect skin cancer will soon be available. (iStock photo)

Have a suspicious mole you’d like to be checked for skin cancer? There’s an app for that.

A new iPhone application allows users to take a photo of an unusual growth, run it through an embedded software program, and find out within seconds if it is likely to be cancerous.

The app could offer a quick and inexpensive screening test to millions of people who lack access to medical specialists, Medical Xpress reports. 

George Zouridakis, a University of Houston professor, created the so-called DermoScan app, now being evaluated for further testing at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Early testing found the device to be accurate about 85 percent of the time.

In addition to a mobile phone, the technology uses a special magnifying lens, costing about $500, and provides special illumination of the area being photographed.

"Our research with Dr. Zouridakis on his promising iPhone app will focus on evaluating its use for risk assessment and as a screening tool for early detection of melanomas," says Ana Ciurea, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at MD Anderson.

"We are in early stages of planning and approval for this project, but such an application, if validated, has the potential for widespread use to ultimately improve patient care."

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