Regular Skin Checks Can Detect Early Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed annually. The three most common malignant skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious and often life-threatening form of skin cancer, with over 70,000 new diagnoses and over 9,000 deaths in the US alone. If melanoma is found and treated in its earliest stages, the chance of cure is excellent with >96% 5 year survival. However, if it is not found early, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, and once this occurs, it is an extremely difficult cancer to treat with only 15% 5 year survival rates. Therefore, early detection of melanoma is crucial, and regular self skin checks help find melanoma at the earliest stages. A simple, convenient, and low cost tool to help users perform regular self skin checks, track and create a history of moles and lesions, and alert them when to seek medical advice will help improve early diagnosis and prognosis for this deadly disease.
MySkinCheck Mobile Application for Detection of Skin Cancer
Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School developed an iPhone/iPad mobile application MySkinCheck for skin cancer self exam and surveillance, currently available for download from iTunes. This app allows users to complete and store a full body photographic library, track detected moles or lesions, calculate their risk for melanoma development, download informational videos and literature, and locate a skin cancer specialist. It reminds users when their self skin examination is due, guides them step by step through the exam process, and lets them know what they should be looking for as well as what to do in case they find something suspicious. The “ABCDE” acronym for melanoma detection stands for Asymmetry, Borders, Color, Diameter, and Evolution, and the ability to store photos and track any changes with MySkinCheck app provides a visual timeline that can help patients monitor their health as well as help physicians decide whether a biopsy should be performed.
Applications and Advantages
- Mobile application to help early detection of skin cancer
- Allows users to perform self skin examination to identify and monitor suspicious moles
- Educates users in prevention and risk awareness of skin cancer
- Guidance on performing a skin cancer self exam and full body photographic survey
- Tracking detected skin lesions and moles for changes over time
- Notifications/reminders to perform self exams on a routine basis
- Storage of photos for baseline comparisons during routine follow-up self exams
- Informational videos and literature on skin cancer prevention, healthy skin, and skin cancer risk calculator function
iTunes app store link for MySkinCheck: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/myskincheck/id522498604?mt=8
UM Health link for MySkinCheck description and video: http://www.uofmhealth.org/myskincheck