5 million cases a year of skin cancer in the US. 2 out of 3 Australians will develop it. The case for screening has some heady numbers.
Back that with calls from leading dermatologists such as Dr Quirk who suggest that sun prevention isn’t enough on it’s own, given almost 30% of cases seem to be unrelated to exposure.
So why then are skin cancer screening programs not advocated in high risk countries such as the US, Australia and those in Europe?
Well, the case against is pretty compelling also. To start with there hasn’t yet been much clinical evidence compiled which can show an improvement to melanoma death rates when screening programs have been implemented. There just haven’t been enough studies designed to answer the question to know for sure.
Beyond that, there are implications with over diagnosis and the excisions of harmless moles that come along with that. But most importantly, the case against is built around the huge emotional impact on patients themselves when they are told they have a life threatening disease.
From a public health policy perspective, this currently looks to outweigh any benefit from screening in the first place.
So, the question is what do we do about it?
At Skin Analytics we think the answer is to make screening, cheaper and more effective.
It turns out that a changing mole is the most sensitive indicator of melanoma. So we helping to improve screening by giving people the tools to effectively monitor their skin for changing moles.
And because we can empower people to do it with their smartphones or a digital camera, the cost of is low.
We want to help people answer the question: “How do I know if my mole is dangerous?”
And we want to give them the information that their doctor needs to make a better diagnosis.
Check us out at Skin Analytics.