Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the world and it disproportionately affects young people.
Current global survival rates are up at around 75%. That’s good, but until it’s 100%, we need to do better.
So where do we start?
Melanoma, like any cancer, can be broken up into stages, starting at Stage 1 in the early stages and then progressing to Stage 4 as the cancer spreads.
When melanoma is caught at Stage 1, survival rates are up around 95%. But when it’s caught at Stage 4, survival rates plummet to around 5-20%.
Cancer treatments are improving all the time but as we can see late stage treatments aren’t always successful. They do of course improve survival time and that’s very important – but they usually aren’t a cure and we need huge advances to make a dent on survival rates.
So what can we do to dramatically improve survival rates and catch that 25%?
What if we could make sure that no melanoma ever progressed beyond Stage 1 when survival is up at 95%? Perhaps so we get to live in a world where almost everyone survives melanoma. Wouldn’t that be great?
That relies on all melanoma being caught in Stage 1. Which relies on everyone who has one spotting it early, going to the doctor and getting a diagnosis.
It seems simple – but it’s not easy to check your moles and know what you’re looking for. In a recent study by the British Association of Dermatologists, 95% of people were aware that skin cancer rates are rising but 77% said they weren’t confident in identifying the symptoms of melanoma.
Education is vital. But we also believe that technology has a huge role to play here. Why not let the latest in pattern and image recognition software help us out a bit? How about we train a machine to do some of the hard work and help us feel more confident when doing our skin checks?
Well that’s exactly what we’re working on at Skin Analytics.
Here’s how it works:
1) Get a high quality image of a mole using a dermascopic lens, just like a dermatologist would use.
2) Run the image through our image processing algorithms (which are well trained and tested, just like a dermatologist).
3) Get an analysis of whether or not the mole needs to be reviewed by a dermatologist.
The concept is simple but the science behind it is anything but.
We want to make sure that everyone can screen themselves confidently and safely at home. We want to get that survival rate as near to 100% as we can.
We’d love to know what you think. Please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org