Microscope and smartphone camera may help diagnose skin cancer

Dec. 27, 2013 at 3:52 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A small thumb-size microscope used with a smartphone camera could help in diagnosing possible skin cancers, a Canadian computer scientist says.

MoleScope, created by Maryam Sadeghi through her Vancouver company MetaOptima, allows a person to collect and manage images of suspicious moles and, if necessary, send the images to specialists to determine whether further examination or treatment is required.

"We can reduce unnecessary [office] visits and provide better quality of care by giving priority to patients who need to have immediate access," Sadeghi told the Globe and Mail.

Knowing people often must wait days, weeks or even months to find out whether suspicious moles are something to worry about prompted Sadeghi to develop the smartphone tool.

In diagnosing skin cancer, dermatologists rely on visual clues, which suggested the worth of a system that allows users to monitor their own skin and send images to experts for analysis.

Busy clinics, long waiting times and travel costs for patients are bottlenecks in the current diagnostic system that MoleScope was created to alleviate.

The MoleScope system could prove most useful in rural and remote areas that don't have ready access to skin specialists, Vancouver businessman Hugh MacNault, who helped mentor MetaOptima, said.

"In a way, it is an outreach from their medical practices," he said.

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