New app could diagnose skin cancer

A new app that could detect skin cancer in patients is currently being tested, a team of medical and software experts announced.

The app, called Lubax, uses image-recognition software to identify an array of skin lesions that could be an indicator of skin cancer.

The app will be made available to healthcare professionals only to limit the potential for misuse or misdiagnosis and is operated by the physician taking a photograph of the skin lesion with their smartphone.

It will then search a database of over 12,000 diagnosed skin-lesion images and show the user the most similar images and their associated clinical diagnoses.

"The Lubax app could provide a major contribution in improving melanoma detection with its innovative technology. As a primary care researcher I am keen to study its usefulness among generalists in different countries and with different thresholds for referral for specialist care," said Dr Fiona Walter, clinician scientist at the University of Cambridge.

Lubax was tested in collaboration with Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and the University of Sao Paulo and will be available for free on the iPhone for medical practitioners in the US, UK and Australia.

"Mobile health apps and the power of the Internet have the potential to change the trajectory of premature deaths from cancer worldwide. We encourage all technology entrepreneurs to apply their skills and knowledge to global health issues, including cancer, to help us drive equitable access to information, awareness and early detection," said Cary Adams, chief executive of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

"Together with health experts we can create a pipeline of technology-driven solutions which will help all of us access these key levers to address cancer globally. We will let down future generations if we do not press forward exploring and testing new and exciting technology advances as they emerge."

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