With over 1 million people being diagnosed with non-melanoma cancer and nearly 300,000 with melanoma of the skin in 2018, skin cancer remains one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. While the world’s highest risk countries are those located close to the equator — those with the greatly reduced ozone layer and mostly fair-skinned population — skin cancer rates are high all across the globe. For example, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Considering the number of lives affected by skin cancer and the potential of lifestyle changes, both patients and their doctors are now looking to digital solutions as the means for broadening prevention efforts and detecting the disease in its early, more curable stages.
Leveraging mHealth Technologies in Oncodermatology
To date, thousands of apps focused on the changes in lifestyle habits, increasing awareness of various health issues, suggesting preventive steps, and helping with diagnosing has been developed. And a large portion of these apps is somehow connected to the cancer problem.
When it comes to skin cancer, the development of mHealth applications is largely focused on preventive measures. For example, some apps measure UV exposure and alert a user in case the risk level gets above the normal. There are also self-diagnosing chatbot apps that help patients to know when the health issue requires a visit to a doctor. There are also apps for psychological support, and, of course, thousands of those aimed at developing healthy habits.
Nevertheless, mHealth technologies also work great for healthcare providers. First of all, they promote the increase of trust between a patient and their doctor. Secondly, they ensure the efficiency of certain important processes, including:
- Provision of remote care for patients;
- Transmission of high-quality images directly through mobile phone technology for their immediate analysis;
- Faster response time;
- Avoidance of unnecessary referrals for face-to-face consultations;
- Convenient, fast, and secure tools for payers;
- Delivery of educational materials for both patients and doctors;
- Drug formularies always at hand.
But now let’s have a look at the existing mobile applications and wearables to find out how they work for onco-dermatologists and their patients.
Self-Care Mobile Apps
Dermatologists recommend carrying skin checks every month, but this does not mean that a person should visit a doctor so often. Such checks could be carried out in the privacy of a person’s own home. In today’s world, with the advent of self-care mobile apps, they become easier than ever, as well as more accurate. When it comes to skin cancer detection, such apps significantly increase chances for identifying the disease as early as possible. Below, you will find 3 examples of skin cancer prevention and detection apps existing today.