Skin cancer app can help spot skin changes

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Carin Fanter tries to live the healthiest life possible, staying fit and strong.

But damage to her skin has been more difficult to manage.

“Most of my moles and freckles are on my back, so that is a real challenge and I feel helpless because I can’t see what’s going on back there,” says Fanter.

Since her early 20’s, she’s had close to two dozen moles removed. Most were benign, but in early 2016 one stood out.

“I got a phone call from my dermatologist and she said this is an early melanoma and we need to get this off,” says Fanter.

The number one risk factor for skin cancer is sun exposure.

J.C. Lapiere devotes his entire dermatology practice to treating skin cancer patients. He’s seen it all, from basal and squamous cell carcinomas to deadly melanomas.

“Melanoma survival rate is extremely good if you catch it at stage 0 or stage 1a. But you have to look for it and if you don’t look for it, you’re not going to find it,” says Lapiere.

Spotting suspicious lesions can pose a challenge-often melanomas pop up on the back of the leg or upper back.

That’s where Skin I-O comes in.  Dr. Lapiere helped develop an app called Skin I-O with technology expert Kyoko Crawford.

Subscribers start the process by taking a set of pictures to establish a baseline of their skins’ characteristics, including moles, spots and growths.

The pictures can be taken by a spouse or close friend with an IPhone or IPad. Each month users are prompted to send in a fresh set. The software circles the spots for human eyes to see. Skin i-o relies on a network of licensed dermatologists to compare and review the images.

“The quality of cameras in IPads and IPhones has gotten so good that I’m definitely able to zoom in a lot and get  good comparisons especially if the patients are using a well lit background,” says Dr. Erika Hadstrom.

If a change is detected, subscribers receive a special alert.

“If it’s red, it means our team of derms have reviewed your photos and they found a real change or a new spot that needs to be looked at in person by a dermatologist,” says Kyoko Crawford, the app developer.

Carin recently signed on and submitted her first set of pictures.

“It feels like another tool in my healthcare toolbox that i can use because I certainly want to take charge when I can.”

For more on Skin I-O click on the link below.

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