I wonder why $0.99 Skin Cancer diagnosis isn’t reliable?

Stuff reports on a warning for people using an App to self-diagnose cancer:

Smartphone apps designed to detect skin cancer have been shown to be unreliable and could fool people into thinking a cancerous mole is benign, says new research published today.

And the Chicago researchers who tested the apps said people should not rely on them.

I would have thought common sense would have been sufficient here.

They needed research to figure this out?

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study, published in Online First, found that three out of four of the apps said 30 per cent of cancerous skin lesions were of no concern.

Researchers used 60 images of melanomas and 128 benign skin lesions to test four different apps.  

Of the 60 melanomas, 18 were incorrectly diagnosed as benign and one app only had a 6.8 per cent success rate of identifying melanoma.

Still, the really dumb people need protecting, if not just their cheque book.

There are more than 13,000 health care apps available and the mobile health app industry made an estimated $718 million worldwide, according to a recent report by Research2Guidance, a consulting firm.

The cost of the four apps in the study ranged from free to $5.29, a lot cheaper than a $50 doctor fee or $300 mole map, which Pearson said was why people might use them.




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  • Orange

    And it’s not even $50 for a checkup. If you’re in Auckland, Dr Paul at http://www.skinsurgeryclinic.co.nz/ will do a checkup for free.

    • Hazards001

      Nice one Orange. I’ve worked outside most of my life. I’m going to look into that. Cheers.

  • Mitch82

    “Still, the really dumb people need protecting, if not just their cheque book.”

    Wrong. If we simply take all warnings and safety labels away, the problem will naturally solve itself.

  • Rodger T

    It might be better used as a prostate cancer detector.

    • Hazards001

      hahahahahhahaha too good!

  • Mr_Blobby

    Interesting, but how often do doctors get it wrong.

  • Waka2

    Well put Mitch82 – this is an example of natural selection at work