Skin Cancer Can Be Detected Just By Using Your Smartphone

ISTOCK / SUSAN CHIANG

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and often the easiest to contract with thanks to the sun. However, scientists have now developed a new kind of technology that can detect skin cancer, literally at the touch of a button. The artificial intelligence (AI) system will soon be available for smartphones everywhere and is said to be just as accurate as a doctor’s diagnosis.


There are many advantages that come with being able to self-diagnose skin cancer yourself, including saving time, money, and having a better chance of catching it early, with no need to make an appointment to see a doctor. The way in which the system works is by using deep learning techniques that compare sample pictures from an existing database to that of the patient and then give its diagnosis. Andre Esteva, one of the team members responsible for the system, says, “We made a very powerful machine learning algorithm that learns from data. Instead of writing into computer code exactly what to look for, you let the algorithm figure it out.”

Already the system has over 125,000 images covering more than 2,000 different diseases and has an accuracy rate of almost 100 percent. The team from Stanford University aren’t looking to replace doctors with their new system, but to help people get diagnosed as soon as possible. Esteva comments, “My main eureka moment was when I realized just how ubiquitous smartphones would be. Everyone will have a supercomputer in their pockets with some sensors in it, including a camera.”


This is a fantastic breakthrough for the healthcare industry and could prolong the lives of millions of people. Statistics confirm that detecting skin cancer early h10-yearear survival rates of around 95 percent, opposed to 10-15 percent for a ate diagnosis. Anjali Mahto, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, said, “This is an exciting new technology that has the potential to increase access to dermatology at a time where there is a national shortage in this specialty and the rates of skin cancer continue to rise.” So keep your eyes and ears peeled as this little app will soon be here.


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