An iPhone app that can detect skin cancer

January 31, 2012



A screengrab of the app in action.
A screengrab of the Skin Scan app in action. Photo: iTunes


The illustration above shows a mobile phone app that allows people to analyse their moles for cancer risk. This is a new and useful tool but the Cancer Society of New Zealand warns that it should not be used in isolation – rather used as an alert system.

Skin Scan is an application for iPhones. To utilise the app you need to take a photo of any  mole that may be of concern in order to find out whether it is a cancer risk. It is suggested that you seek medical advice if your moles change in appearance. The app calculates the mole’s shape and surrounding skin and studies the tissue growth patterns of your mole to decide whether any specific mole appears to show abnormal development. Results are colour coded – a green code suggests a lesion of low risk; a yellow code translates as medium risk; and a red result reflects a high risk of being cancerous. The app also takes into account the user’s age and gender.

The app stores your scans so that any changes to a mole can be time monitored. While this app makes it easier for people to monitor their moles the medical profession are concerned that you should not rely on this technology alone and any concerns should be followed up by a visit to your doctor. You have an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have experienced frequent sunburn, have lots of moles, and a family history of melanoma.

One pitfall with this app is that only iPhone 4 and 4S appear to have a camera that has the image quality required to be sensitive enough to spot problems. When this app was tested on 3G and 3GS iPhones – the cameras did not provide the superior quality required. Also you need to get someone else to check any freckles or moles that you cannot see yourself. This app was originally made for the Australian market where skin melanomas are a high risk problem and not the UK market.

The Skin Scan app has been released by the Romanian company ‘Cronian Labs’ and can be bought for approximately $5.49 – check it out at the Apple app store iTunes . If you are considering upgrading your smartphone for an iPhone 4 or 4S please check out our ‘Buy Online’ information on this website.

  • visit the itunes store




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