How to Detect Skin Cancer With Your Smartphone

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the world. Each year about 40 and 50 percent of all cancer cases are diagnosed as skin cancer. It is the uncontrolled growth of unusual skin cells that if left unchecked, can spread from the skin to other organs or tissues of the body. Early detection can be the difference between the simple removal of moles and some rounds of chemotherapy.

Skin cancer can happen to anyone, and people at risk should be smart enough to seek professional counsel and early treatment. This is logical, the question is, how do you know if you are at risk? Well, if you work in environments where you are exposed to the sun for a long time, you could be at risk. If you get sunburn very easily or your skin is very light, you will be at risk. And, if you have green or blue eyes, blond or red hair, you will be at greater risk. One of the most apparent things to consider is if you have skin cancer in your bloodline. And perhaps if you have many moles, you should see a doctor to check if they are the kind that can become cancerous.

All doctors agree that early detection and treatment are the best chances of battling any major kinds of skin cancer. This could be the difference between removing a simple mole and malignant cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. A few Smartphone apps and devices claim to aid early detection and keep you on track with periodic self-tests. You can take photographs of suspicious moles and marks and track them yourself or send them to a dermatologist for assessment.

How your phone can help you detect skin cancer

Telemedicine is an emergent field, and skincare should not be ruled out: in recent years, a couple of skin cancer detection apps have emerged that allow you to analyze your skin using your Smartphone with artificial intelligence algorithms. Some send photos to the dermatologist, while others give instant feedback, others offer useful reminders about self-examine of your skin and any appointment with the doctor.

Skin cancer detection apps you can download on Android and iOS

Miiskin app

This app uses mole mapping to examine your skin. Dermatologists carry out mole maps as part of a scientific full-body check, using digital dermoscopy (digital zoom image) to capture suspicious lesions that they may not see with their own eyes. Since they are so high-definition, dermoscopy images provide much more information than normal digital images. Miiskin developers wanted to offer consumers a version of this technology, so they created an application that captures magnified photos of large areas of the skin, for instance, your entire leg. According to the website, anyone with an iPhone with iOS 10 and the latest or any phone running Android 4.4 and latest can use Miiskin.


This application comes from researchers at the University Of Michigan School Of Medicine (UM). It allows you to complete a full-body skin cancer self-exam, and also, create and track a history of growth, moles, and lesions. The application guides you step by step on how to conduct the test with written and graphics instructions. This app also comes with access to informational articles and videos, including a melanoma risk calculator. UMSkinCheck also sends reminders to encourage people to follow-up their self-exams and check on the moles or lesions they are tracking. You can also decide how frequently you want to see those reminders in the apps.


This app claims to help early detection of skin cancer. SkinVision uses deep learning to examine the images of your skin and help in the early detection of skin cancer. The images are processed by a machine learning algorithm that filters the photo layers based on complex, simple, and more abstract patterns and functions through a technology known as convolutional neural network (CNN). The app uses it to examine small parts of your skin and come back with a low or high-risk assessment of that part in less than one minute. SkinVision app is supported by a scientific board of dermatologists.

The accuracy and possible benefits of these apps

Health professionals have presented two major arguments concerning skin cancer screening apps. The first concern is that people may depend on consumer devices and apps to evaluate their risk of skin cancer, which may delay diagnosis. And the second commends these apps for creating public awareness and encouraging the public to take good care of their skin.

The two arguments are valid. For example, in the SkinVision study, the researchers say, "We see the real potential for smartphone apps to improve doctor-patient communication by recognizing the need for skin cancer screening and provide the basis for interaction."

In addition, apps like MoleScope that send photos to dermatologists can act as the first step in receiving a professional check. Every skin cancer biopsies start with a visual exam. But, for no condition should you start using an app or device at home to replace professional medical care.

At the moment, even though these applications may be beneficial in some way, your best option is to look for the professional opinion of a doctor or dermatologist if you observe any suspicious moles or other symptoms of skin cancer.

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