Your iPhone Could be a Life Saving Cancer Detector
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia announced that as part of their QSkin study, volunteers are needed to try out an iPhone accessory and app that turns an iPhone into a personal skin scanner for detecting and diagnosing suspicious spots that could be cancerous.
According to recent statistics by the Skin Cancer Foundation:
• Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
• Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US.
• An estimated 3,170 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers will occur in the US in 2013.
• Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either BCC or SCC at least once.
• An estimated 76,690 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the US in 2013.
• A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age.
• Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old.
• An estimated 9,480 people will die of melanoma in 2013.
• One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 57 minutes).
However, in spite of the grim nature of the numbers highlighting the dangers of developing non-melanoma and melanoma types of skin cancers, is that statistics also tells us that the overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early―before the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or other organs―is about 98 percent in the US. Therefore, aside from using sunscreen and limiting UV ray exposure, early detection is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming a mortality statistic. To help people detect potential skin cancer lesions early, researchers and engineers have devised an iPhone accessory that could save your life.
Turning an iPhone into a Skin Scanner
The iPhone accessory studied by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology is an easily attachable optical device called a “HandyScope” that its manufacturer states converts your iPhone into a digital dermatoscope that allows an individual to take brilliant polarized and non-polarized images of moles with a 20X magnification factor. The simplicity of the HandyScope is underlined by its features that allow individuals to scan their own skin or that of a friend, take photos of suspect spots, record them in a password protected app, and then send the data to a health professional.
"It is capable of doing really cool things,” says Queensland University of Technology senior research fellow Dr. Monika Janda. “It automatically gets people to hold the iPhone at the right distance to take a clear photo, it has polarized light that goes deeper into the skin to show lesions clearer, and it has a 20x magnification capacity. Then it has an app attached to it, that allows people to mark on a virtual body where the legion is, and they can send it straight back to a health professional for quick feedback."
Dr. Janda and her colleagues believe that the HandyScope used with the iPhone is a game changer in the fight against skin cancer that will not only help those without skin cancer to detect a potential skin lesion at an early stage, but also help those who are skin cancer survivors to monitor their bodies on a frequent and regular basis more easily. They also point out that it would help people living in remote areas where frequent visits to a dermatologist are not possible.
For an informative article about another cancer-related medical use for the iPhone, click on the titled link “New iPhone App from ASCO Puts Cancer Care in Hands of Patients.
For information about an iPhone app that can help you lose 10 pounds, click on the titled link “Lose 10 Pounds with a Free Smartphone Weight Loss App”
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Queensland University of Technology News— “Pocket doctor helps detect skin cancers”