App of the Week: UMSkinCheck
Transforming Health | 07.08.13
The app creates a photographic history of your moles and lesions.
Unlike basal cell and squamous cell cancer where the problem is cumulative exposure to the sun, melanoma is more related to severe episodic exposure. Melanoma skin cancer is a much more serious form of cancer, but if it is diagnosed at an early stage, it is easier to treat.
Those with a high risk for skin cancer are encouraged to have full body photographic surveys taken by professional photographers to identify suspicious moles or lesions that may be cancerous or growths that may turn into skin cancer.
Now, there’s an app for that! The free mobile app, UMSkinCheck, from the University of Michigan, guides patients through a full skin cancer self exam and survey, creating a photographic history of moles and lesions by taking 23 photos from head to toe. A patient’s photos are stored within the app and serve as a baseline for future comparisons.
If a mole does appear to change in shape or color, the photos can be shared with a dermatologist to help determine whether a biopsy is needed.
The app sends reminders for repeat skin self-exams so that the changes can be monitored over time.
UMSkinCheck also offers informational videos and literature about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, as well as a skin cancer specialist locator. And, if the warning sign indicator isn’t enough, the app also calculates your individual cancer risk using personal data input.
Dr. Steven Pandelidis, a surgical oncologist with Apple Hill Surgical Associates in York, PA, says:
Unhealthy moles vs. normal moles.
"Usually melanomas are not subtle. Its usually an ugly-looking mole and people just have a hunch that they should get it looked at. To recognize a mole that may be a melanoma, I always like to remember the ABCD's -- A for asymmetry, B for border irregularity, C for different colors like black and blue, and D diameter, greater than six millimeters which is about the size of a pencil eraser."
Scroll down to watch a video to learn more.
Dr. Pandelidis says that its easy for any well-trained family physician to remove a mole and send it to a pathologist to find out what it is. "If you don't like the way something looks, you go see your doctor, you say 'I'm worried about this,' and the doctor will look it over, and if there's cause for worry, he or she should remove it."
Learn more about skin cancer at the Facing Cancer Together website.
The UMSkinCheck mobile app features:
- 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.
- Skin cancer risk calculator function.
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