Researchers warn public to be cautious when using skin cancer diagnosis apps

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Researchers from the University of Birmingham.on Thursday warned the public to be cautious when using skin cancer diagnosis apps.

The study led by the university, has been outlined at the British Association of Dermatologists’Annual Meeting in Edinburgh.

It explores the skin cancer apps on the market, ascertaining how accurate they are, and what the benefits and limitations of these technological solutions are.

Examples of apps include tele-dermatology, which involves sending an image directly to a dermatologist, photo storage, which can be used by individuals to compare photos monthly to look for changes in a mole, and risk calculation, which is based on colour and pattern recognition, or on fractal analysis.

The study found that some of these apps have a comparatively high success rate for the diagnosis of skin cancer.

For example, they said Teledermatology correctly identified 88 per cent of people with skin cancer and 97 per cent of those with benign lesions.

The team admitted that these types of technology have huge potential, as early diagnosis can make a huge difference when it comes to five-year survival.

But there still are three major failings with some of the apps: a lack of rigorous published trials to show they work and are safe; a lack of input during the app development from specialists to identify which lesions are suspicious; and flaws in the technology used, namely how the photos are analyzed, according to the study.

Future technology will play a huge part in skin cancer diagnosis, but “until adequate validation and regulation of apps is achieved, members of the public should be cautious when using such apps as they come with risk,” said Maria Charalambides, of the University of Birmingham’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, who conducted the review.(Xinhua/NAN)

Biola Lawal

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