Your Smart Phone Dermatologist

Check this out. What you will see is the review of an app that helps the user to diagnose and keep track of moles that might be cancerous. Interesting stuff.

I have two reactions. First, as the article rightfully comments, I am sure that there are a gazillion people out there who NEVER get their skin checked by a Dermatologist. Never thought about it, too inconvenient, too scary, etc. Would this app be better than nothing for such people? Quite possibly.

BUT. Note the picture above. This woman sees a lesion, and knows to point the camera at it. However, the trick is seeing the damn thing in the first place.

A recent personal experience. TMI, but exemplary. Living in South Carolina, I once again yesterday laughed out loud when my PCP asked if I was “staying out of the sun?” Doctor, I moved here to be in the sun!

Why did she ask? A recent check by my Dermatologist had discovered a very shallow melanoma under my left sideburn. I am off for Mohs surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina on Valentine’s Day. I had one on my left shoulder a year ago, and had that removed immediately. My point? My PCP was amazed that my Dermatologist was so diligent that she found this little spot under my hair. I certainly wasn’t aware that it was there. The PA that spotted the one on the back of my shoulder last year asked how long it had been there. I had never even seen it!!! SO. How could I have turned a camera on these little spots?

Bottom Line. I have gotten to the point that every time I see something like this, I ponder its potential unintended consequences. While I am sure that this app will find some lesions and save some lives, I worry that it might actually stop some people from going to the Dermatologist with potentially tragic results. 

I hope I am wrong!

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