Development of Smartphone Apps for Skin Cancer Risk Assessment: Progress and Promise

Early and accurate detection of skin cancer is important for prognosis. But access to specialised health care professionals is not always straightforward for patients. The diagnostic accuracy of primary care providers in differentiating benign and malignant skin tumours is relatively low. This has led to the development of smartphone apps with algorithms designed to analyse suspicious lesions and detect skin cancer. While multiple different skin cancer detection apps exist, they have previously been criticised due to a lack of diagnostic accuracy. This study aimed to review the development of the SkinVision smartphone app, which has more than 900,000 users worldwide. The results showed that the latest version of the SkinVision app (October 2018) has a 95% sensitivity & 78% specificity for detection of skin cancer. This level of accuracy suggests that the app could be used as a diagnostic aid by laypeople, or by GPs. The article also highlights areas for further research on the impact of these apps on the health system and user population

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PC4 researcher Emily Habgood has used the SkinVison app in her work on skin self-monitoring assessment for people at increased risk of melanoma. You can read more about her work here.