According to this article, Skin cancer phone apps aren't very
, the apps are marketed as educational only and so aren't covered as medical devices under the Food and Drug Administration's
But that may not stop some people from relying on the inexpensive tools instead of going to see a dermatologist, researchers said - which could mean
slower diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions.
For the new study, researchers used photos of 188 pre-diagnosed lesions - 60 melanomas and 128 benign lesions - to check the accuracy of four
Smartphone apps made to look for melanoma in previously-taken images.
Three of those apps, which cost under $5 to own, use algorithms to determine whether a lesion is likely to be cancerous or not. The fourth sends
images to a certified dermatologist for evaluation, at a price of $5 per lesion.
Of the three algorithm-based apps, the most accurate still missed 18 of the 60 melanomas, mistakenly classifying them as lower-risk, Dr. Laura Ferris
from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and her colleagues reported Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.
App users "need to know that that's a pretty big risk to take," Ferris said.
Both researchers said teledermatology - giving people who live in rural areas, for example, the chance to consult with a dermatologist through photos
or video - can be useful. Edison, for example, once used it to diagnose a farmer living hours away with melanoma during harvest season.
But they agreed that for now - and probably for the foreseeable future - machines and apps can't beat in-person exams when it comes to checking for
It is amazing what can be done by way of a smart phone but I hope that people will not think that these apps will be accurate.
If in doubt of an unusual spot/blemish, always go see a doctor ASAP.
ETA: I know this isn't as entertaining as the gun threads but thought this might be interesting for some....
edit on 18-1-2013 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)