iPhone improves early skin cancer detection

16 May, 2013

Queensland researchers are turning iPhones into personal skin scanners so patients can detect suspicious spots.

The University of Queensland's Dermatology Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and State Government's Queensland Institute for Medical Research are trialing an iPhone accessory and app that people can use when they scan their skin for suspicious moles.

UQ Professor Peter Soyer said iPhone accessory Handyscope was an easily attachable optical device and would be more effective than the naked eye for melanoma detection.

"Routine self-examination can save lives but its effectiveness is relatively low," Professor Soyer said.

"With the Handyscope patients can scan their skin, take photos of suspect skin lesions, record them in an application, and then send the data onto health professionals for examination.

"This development might change the way health care is delivered in the future and ultimately improve skin cancer treatment outcomes."

HandyScope attaches to the iPhone camera, has a 20x magnification capacity and a polarised light that goes deeper into the skin to show lesions clearer.

Professor Soyer said high-risk melanoma and recovering skin cancer sufferers who visit a specialist every few months or live in rural and remote areas could benefit the most from this innovation.

"Patients could monitor their lesions wherever they are, reducing the required face-to-face examination time with their health professional," Professor Soyer said.

"Melanoma diagnosis by One Click is becoming a reality."