Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Skin cancer screening just went mobile




A new free app developed at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) allows users to create a photographic baseline of their skin and photograph suspicious moles or other skin lesions, walking users step-by-step through a skin self-exam.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and some 50,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious kind. Regular skin checks can help people discover melanoma in its earliest stages. The app, UMSkinCheck, sends automatic reminders so users can monitor changes to a skin lesion over time, and provides pictures of various types of skin cancers for comparisons.

UMSkinCheck, a collaboration of the University of Michigan's technology and clinical expertise, guides users through a series of 23 photos, covering the body from head to toe. Photos are stored within the app and serve as a baseline for future comparisons. The app will create a reminder to repeat a skin self-exam on a regular basis. If a mole appears to be changing or growing, the photos can then be shared with a dermatologist to help determine whether a biopsy is necessary.

The CDC recommends easy options for protecting your skin:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.
If you’re not sure whether you're at high risk for skin cancer, UMSkinCheck includes a risk calculator that allows you to input your personal data to calculate your individual risk. The app is designed for iPhone and iPad and is available to download on iTunes.

©2012 Yvonne P. Mazzulo, All rights reserved.



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