As cell phones become more advanced, programmers are trying to do more complex things with them. Some are trying to make it possible to improve your driving ability, others help you cook dinner, and some offer the ability to detect skin cancer by taking pictures of your moles, or so they say at least.
Detecting Skin Cancer
A recent study conducted shows that many of the apps that claim that they are able to detect skin cancer are not as reliable as they say they are. Many apps that rely on computer software to determine if a mole often produce inaccurate results. The app compares the picture to other pictures that they have saved in a database, and if your picture looks similar to a cancerous mole then the app will sound the alarm.
Not FDA Approved
This is precisely the reason why skin cancer detection apps have not been accepted by the Food and Drug administration. When moles are examined, aspects such as size, shape, texture, and color are taken into consideration. It is difficult to get accurate readings from a cell phone picture, as it is nearly impossible to capture all of these characteristics.
Photos Forwarded to Physicians
Even though many of the computer-driven apps are being billed as inaccurate, there have been a few programs that work quite well. The successful apps cut the computer out of the equation. Instead of having a computer make the decision about whether or not a mole is cancerous these programs act as messengers with actual dermatologists. A user will snap a variety of photos of their skin concern and the app will forward it to a pool of dermatologists, who may or may not raise a red flag.
Physician vs. Computer Algorithm
One app, that charges $5 for a doctor to examine a user’s picture, was able to predict whether 53 out of 54 moles would be cancerous or not. It seems as if these apps can provide great benefit as long as a real doctor is analyzing the photos, rather than a computer algorithm.
Get Checked By a Doctor
Just because the app may say that you are safe does not mean you should not have it checked out by a doctor. In addition if the program says you have skin cancer, there is a high likelihood that you actually do not, so don’t panic. Always make sure that you get a second opinion about something as important as your own health and only rely on phone apps to help with the checking process before going to see a dermatologist.