Every year more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer and some 50,000 of those will be melanoma, the most deadly form. Regular skin checks and monitoring can help detect these cancers early, but they can be difficult and costly. That’s why a new free smart phone application, UMSkinCheck may be an important tool for early detection.
As we described in an earlier post on skin cancer detection, the normal screening procedure involves carefully examining at every inch of your body for abnormal growths. (That in itself, can be tricky without a mirror or being a contortionist.) Then “mole maps” and photos are used to record the location and appearance of all moles or suspicious marks over time. These maps and photos are updated annually to track any changes which can signal skin cancer.
The UMSkinCheck app uses a similar process. It guides you through a series of 23 photos to create full-body photographic record of your skin and any suspicious moles or lesions. Photos are stored in the app and serve as a baseline for further comparisons. The app also sends reminders when it is time to re-check your skin and provides pictures of different types of skin cancers for comparison.
If a mole appears to be changing color or shape, the photos can be shared with a dermatologist who can determine if a biopsy is necessary.
Are You At Risk?
Doctors recommend that everyone should conduct regular skin self exams to screen for skin cancer. If you have fair skin or burn easily, have had sunburns in the past or used tanning beds, or have a family history of melanoma, you have an increased risk of skin cancer.
You can also use the UMSkinCheck to gauge your risk of skin cancer. All you do is answer a few questions and it will calculate your individual risk.
Apps and More Apps
The UMSkinCheck app is designed for the iPhone and iPad and is available to download on iTunes.
UMSkinCheck is just one of over 40,000 web- or app-based health tools on the market. We’ve whittled down the list to what we believe are the most helpful 21 Best Online Tools and Apps to Manage Your Health.