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BLOG: Can a mobile app help skin cancer detection?

Posted January 29, 2020

Blog by Barry Jones, Moneyfacts UK Protection Adviser of the year 2019

Mobile technology can be a big help in diagnosing what can be potentially serious medical conditions early. The Apple Watch is famous for picking up atrial fibrillation due to its constant monitoring of heart rate.

Recently I used an app called Skin Vision recently to check out a mole I’d had for quite sometime that I’d never got around to having checked out, but was on my list of things to get done. The app uses AI to analyse photographs users upload looking for classic signs of malignancy- irregular borders, asymmetry, differences in colour etc.

I was slightly alarmed when this was flagged up as ‘high risk’ and I then received a follow up email from the company the following day recommending I visit a Doctor to have it more formally checked out.

After a few weeks wait I got in to see my GP and was fortunate to be told that it was in fact a totally benign condition called seborrheic keratosis- something that looks similar to a melanoma, especially to AI. This is nothing to worry about at all, but its look-alike melanoma is.

I referenced the fact to my GP that I had been meaning to get it checked for a couple of years and had only been concerned enough to have it checked due to the apps response. The GP was honest enough to let me know that, had it been a melanoma and I had waited that long, I would no longer have been of this world (he actually pointed to the ceiling with his finger).

Point being, get things checked out without pointless delay, and AI medical tech is useful, even if it just gives us a nudge to see an actual human being.

Click here to download the Skin Vision app for yourself.