Melanoma Detection: A Doctor or Smart Phone?
Melanoma used to be thought of as only an older-person’s disease. But now, studies have shown that melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults ages 25 to 29. Young people are so desperate for the sun, especially in the Midwest summer months that they typically get too much sun too quickly. This sun-loving trend has not only led to an increased risk of melanoma, but it has prompted smart phone app developers to follow the melanoma trend as well.
This month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press releases/2015/08/melanoma-detection-app-sellers-barred-making-deceptive-health?utm_source=govdelivery barred the app sellers of “Mole Detective” from making false and deceptive claims. The sellers of the Mole Detective app claimed that their app could determine the risk of melanoma in any particular mole on the body. Users were instructed to take a photo of the mole with their smartphone camera, and using other information that is input about the mole, the app would determine the melanoma risk to be low, medium or high. The FTC determined that the app sellers did not have sufficient evidence to support the claim that the app can accurately determine melanoma risk in early stages of the disease.
Melanoma can be one of the most dangerous of the skin cancers, and the number of new cases diagnosed each year is on the rise. Other types of skin cancer are slower growing. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and rarely fatal. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. Melanoma, the third most common, is also very, very curable if caught early. Early detection is especially important because the success of treatment is directly related to the depth of invasion into the skin. The longer a melanoma goes unrecognized, the more time it has to grow into deeper layers of the skin, which can lead to spread of the disease to other body parts. That is why it is critical to see a physician at the first sign of any abnormality in your skin.
Surgery is the standard of treatment for melanoma. Our team of melanoma surgeons at Mercy Medical Center treats melanoma by completely removing the tumor, while saving as much healthy skin as possible. We can help guide you through biopsy, tumor removal, plastic and reconstructive surgery and oncology.
Charles D. Goldman, MD, FACS – (515) 247-3266
Jan Franko, MD, PhD, FACS – (515) 247-3266
Samuel Maurice, MD, FACS, FAAP – (515) 643-5455
Michael Carlisle, MD – (515) 643-5455
Author: Michael Carlisle, M.D.