Economy, Sci & Tech

Smartphone Sensor Detects Cancer

Smartphone Sensor Detects Cancer
Smartphone Sensor Detects Cancer

Any cancer can be tackled better if detected early. When skin cancer is detected early, the chances of survival rise to 98%.

Now, a new device has been created that can attach to your smartphone and help detect skin cancer when it is in very initial stages.

Named MoleScope, the melanoma-detecting device is actually a tiny microscope that attaches to the camera on your phone, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

It takes close-up images of moles, sends them off to a dedicated analysis platform called the DermEngine, where they are studied by doctors. If there is a hint of a problem, you will be notified straight away.

Developed by Maryam Sadeqi during her PhD research in computer science several years ago, the MoleScope has finally become a reality. It was unveiled during the World Congress of Dermatology in Vancouver this week.

It operates using a specially designed app suitable for iOS and is ideal for keeping track of how moles and skin conditions can alter over time.

"As a patient, I do not have to wait 12 months to use a doctor's phone or camera to look at my mole. I can do this from home. It enables patients to have access to the same system that doctors have in their clinic," Sadeqi was quoted as saying.

Additionally, like many other examples of smartphone-based medical tech, it will be extremely helpful in regions where medical services are less specialized or in places where a skin cancer specialist is not available.

High quality images are the key to the MoleScope's effectiveness and it has already been proven to work. According to Sadeqi, when the device was being tested, her PhD supervisor was assessing the pictures taken of her own skin and managed to self-diagnose melanoma.

"We were fortunate that she found it at an early stage," Sadeqi said.

MoleScope can be pre-ordered online, available for $100. Another version with additional patient management features can be had for $200. The MoleScope is currently suitable for iPhone 5 onwards. An Android version too is in the pipeline.