Researchers have warned against using iPhones Skin Scan apps to analyze the moles for cancer risk. They said that the apps should not be used as a sole tool for detection of the disease.
The application, unveiled by Romanian company Cronian Labs, enables its users to click photos of their moles to find out if they are likely to be cancerous.
AdvertisementThe Cancer Society of New Zealand has praised the technology, which can be downloaded for nearly 6 dollars, as a way of reminding people to look after their skin and seek medical help for any changes to the appearance of moles.
Using specific mathematical algorithms, the tool calculates the mole's shape and surrounding skin by building a structural map to expose tissue growth patterns that aid in spotting abnormal developments
It also takes into consideration the user's age and gender.
Cancer Society health promotion manager Dr Jan Pearson tried the device and was impressed that it included the recommendation of visiting a doctor, but said more could be done for Kiwi consumers, Stuff.co.nz reported.
"It listed some doctors' surgeries, but not many. It's designed more for an Australian market," Dr Pearson said.
"But it also stores photos, so any changes to the mole over time can be monitored."
However, Pearson insisted that is what people need to be aware of most, as everyone's skin looks different.
"For melanoma, which is the most serious skin cancer, there are a number of different things that might be a melanoma. There's a whole range of changes."
"It could miss stuff, so my advice would be that if you've noticed any changes, see a doctor.
"You do need to detect it early."
She asserted that people who are more vulnerable to skin cancer risk - particularly people with a number of moles, who have been seriously sunburnt in the past, or who have a family history of melanoma - should be extra cautious.
She also claimed that the application was not compatible with all iPhone cameras, because older models did not provide the quality image needed.
"I tried it with an iPhone 3 and the camera wasn't good enough, but I might have another play," Dr Pearson said.
"We'd be cautious to recommend it, but hopefully, it will make people more aware that they have to look after their skin and look for any changes," she added.