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Apps to detect skin cancer are not always reliable

The past few warm days, and the associated extreme sun, makes good skin protection necessary. Skin control is also important. But now the apps that are on the market for this are insufficiently suitable. They come to different conclusions in the majority of the assessments than dermatologists who examine the same skin.

According to research by dermatologist and melanoma expert Dr. Nicole Kukutsch of the Skin Cancer Center of the Leiden University Medical Center. According to the researcher, they are unsuited to making a reliable assessment. The research was commissioned by the scientific association of dermatologists, the NVDV.

With the apps that have to be paid, a stain can be scanned by phone. A certain rating (for example, red-yellow-green) indicates whether a spot has a high risk or not. Part of the research was conducted among the visitors of the National Skin Cancer Day 2017.

60% margin of error

For the study, visitors in 4 academic centers – Leiden, Amsterdam, Maastricht and Rotterdam – were asked if they could designate two places that they wanted to examine further. A photo of these places was taken with an app and then the same spot was assessed by one or two dermatologists, without the dermatologist having knowledge of the outcome of the app.

Dr. Kukutsch: “ In many cases (45 percent) we were not able to make a good photo with the app, in total we took a maximum of five attempts from everyone who went wrong. 67 percent of the spots provided by the app as ‘red’ were labeled (high risk) and 70 percent of the ‘yellow app rating’ (average risk) were, according to the dermatologist, an ordinary mole or an old-age mole, which is a very high margin of error. other research groups found.

And the apps then?

This result indicates that little value can be attached to the appraisal of the apps. “ For the time being, I only see an advantage to use an app to keep track of how a stain develops on your skin, but you can not attach any value to it, it only leads to unrest and higher health care consumption. undoubtedly future in the use of this kind of apps, but they are not yet good enough.

In addition, it is also very important to know that most melanomas (the most wicked type of skin cancer) do not originate from existing moles but on normal skin

2 June: Skin Cancer Day 2018

Interest in skin cancer is high. As in other years, the registration for a skin check during the Skin Cancer Day has been closed due to the large number of registrations. The day will be held on 2 June. The participating dermatologists explain on this day where self-checking of the skin should be paid attention. Advice is also given on how you can best protect yourself against UV radiation.

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