With a few recent launches, new apps designed to diagnose moles have become more widely available.
Apps such as ‘Doctor Mole’ claim to be able to detect malignant melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. They work by allowing a user to upload a photo of their suspect mole, which the app then assesses based on visible indicators such as colour, border outline and asymmetry – looking for the ‘ugly duckling’ signs that can signify a problem. The apps then give advice based on their assessment of risk factor.
But are they worthwhile?
The advantages of mole apps
While critics have been quick to condemn the idea of automated diagnosis of something as important as skin cancer, there are some merits.
Using a phone app is fast and convenient while patients are in the ‘research mode’ of learning about their moles.
What’s more, the simple availability of these apps is very helpful in further raising awareness of the importance of regular mole checks.
The risk of mole apps
However, the fundamental problem with an app is that of accuracy.
John Hawk, emeritus professor of dermatology at King’s College London says:
Most of these skin cancer apps have to be considered unreliable.
They are very likely to miss moles that are a malignant melanoma, or highlight ones that are not.
They can get it wrong both ways and that represents a huge risk to the patient.
Looking at a picture of a mole is not enough to make a diagnosis. A doctor also needs to find out what changes have occurred in the mole.
Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer top to toe mole checks as part of their mole removal service in London and Bristol.
A spokesperson for the Company said:
Really common sense says that a mole check in person with an experienced skin doctor or surgeon is the best way to have a mole diagnosed.
It is too important to risk missing a problem that, if untreated, could develop and worsen.
We would welcome anything that makes people more aware of their moles, but if there are any concerns at all, patients should visit the GP as early as possible for a proper assessment and referral if necessary.
Cosmedics’ doctors remove literally thousands of unwanted moles for cosmetic reasons, giving patients peace of mind.
Cosmedics’ team of doctors offer private mole removal for cosmetic moles and include full histology (testing) as a matter of protocol. As well as surgical mole removal, the doctors also offer the latest laser mole removal methods which are popular with smaller lesions.
Call 0208 246 4861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.