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Need to Track Suspicious Moles? Yup, There's an App for That


"...it's more feasible to do this at home."

Think you may have some questionable moles or patches of skin, yet still not making an appointment to the dermatologist to have them checked for cancer? Now, testing what you think could be skin cancer at home has gotten a tech twist that goes beyond just trying to match what the latest health magazine says about color, size and irregular borders.

The University of Michigan has developed an app -- UMSkinCheck --that allows you to track suspicious moles using your smartphone camera. It walks users through the self exam of the image and also sends reminders to make frequent checks of areas to see if things have changed.

The app guides users through taking 23 pictures to evaluate their whole body.

"Whole body photography is a well-established resource for following patients at risk for melanoma. 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," Michael Sabel, associate professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School, who led development of the app, said according to the university's website.

As the website explains, by taking baseline photos of the moles, if it "appears to be changing or growing, the photos can then be shared with a dermatologist to help determine whether a biopsy is necessary." The app also includes a risk calculator that when input with some of your own personal information evaluates your own risk for developing skin cancer.

With more than 2 million Americans being diagnosed with skin cancer every year -- 50,000 of which have the more serious form called melanoma -- the university believes this app could lead to earlier detection and thus the appropriate treatment.

Currently, the app is available for iPhones and iPads.

(H/T: Popular Science)

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