Smartphone applications not always reliable to assess skin cancer

Published: April, 2013

Be careful if you use a smartphone application to monitor a suspicious mole for the deadly skin cancer melanoma. A new study finds the performance of these apps is not always reliable. The study, published online in JAMA Dermatology on Jan. 16, 2013, found that three of four applications incorrectly classified 30% or more of melanomas as unconcerning. The best results for melanoma diagnosis came from an app that sends the image directly to a board-certified dermatologist for analysis. The worst results came from apps that use computerized image interpretation to analyze images. Best bet: go to a doctor if you have a mole that's 6 millimeters or larger in diameter, asymmetrical, with irregular borders and a mixture of colors.

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