Thursday, October 30, 2014 Headlines & Global News

An iPhone App Detects Skin Cancer Better Than Your Doctor

By Sam Lehman | May 09, 2014 05:53 AM EDT

An iPhone App Combined With A Pricey Gadget Detects Skin Cancer Better Than Your Doctor
An iPhone App Combined With A Pricey Gadget Detects Skin Cancer Better Than Your Doctor (Photo : University of Houston Press Release)

Researchers have developed an iPhone app that can detect skin cancer with an accuracy rate of 85 percent and it gives results within seconds.

Researchers have come up with a new way to detect melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, through an iPhone app. The latest development can be helpful for detection of skin cancer in less time and with affordable means. The app called the DermoScreen was developed by George Zouridakis, a professor of engineering technology at the University of Houston. He aims to bring quick screening of cancer in rural areas where the lack of necessary medical care can result in delayed treatment.

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Melanoma is the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, which can even lead to death if not caught at an early stage. It is usually caused due to over exposure to the sun and is responsible for 75 percent of all deaths caused by skin cancer. Early detection of the disease can led to better survival chances as surgeries can completely remove the cancer in some cases. The World Health Organization has estimated about 48,000 deaths occur across the world caused due to melanoma each year.

The DermoScreen app for iPhones uses a special magnifying lens and light to take a photo of a suspicious mole or lesion. The app will use the image to determine whether the captured image shows any signs of cancerous cells. The results appear within a few seconds, saving doctors and patients the time and money to undergo series of tests. But the detachable magnifying lens used to capture the image costs $500, as it gives a special illumination to the area being photographed, the university's press release reads.
Dr. Ana Ciurea, assistant professor of dermatology at MD Anderson, where the app is being evaluated for further testing, said the app is still in its early stages before it can be pushed for commercial use.

"Our research with Dr. Zouridakis on his promising iPhone app will focus on evaluating its use for risk assessment and as a screening tool for early detection of melanomas," Ciurea said in a press statement published Tuesday. "We are in early stages of planning and approval for this project, but such an application, if validated, has the potential for widespread use to ultimately improve patient care."

The team is also working towards multiplying the app's capabilities to detect other diseases by working with various diagnostic components, 9to5Mac reports.

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