AI skin mapping tech available to patients

An AI-powered skin mapping technology normally used by clinicians to deter the most common warning signs of melanoma is now available to patients.

The Miiskin app has introduced the technology to help alert adults to new moles and marks on their skin.

Research from the Office of National Statistics found there were 13,740 new cases of melanoma in England in 2017, with 10,000 of these estimated to have first shown as new moles or marks. However, although most British adults (83%) are aware that an existing mole that changes over time could be a sign of skin cancer, there is less understanding (64%) of the significance of a new mark or mole on the skin.

The technology is an app-light version for patients of total body photography, which helps doctors to spot abnormalities. The app uses artificial intelligence to digitally map out the skin to make it easier for its users to detect new moles, freckles and other marks.

Developed in collaboration with the head of AI and medical computer imaging at the University of Copenhagen, it allows patients to capture and track wide-area images of their back – a part of the body that one in three adults in Britain (35%) admits they do not check thoroughly.

Jon Friis, founder of Miiskin said “Larger scale skin mapping for the identification of new moles and other marks has not previously been openly available for the public to use themselves.  In adults, more than 70% of melanomas show up as new marks or moles on the skin, not as changes to a previously existing mole. We’ve developed the technology to support this important element of self-checking, alongside tracking of individual moles.”

Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said “Patients often look for changes to existing moles but can be unaware they should also check for new moles or marks on their skin. With skin mapping technology historically associated with a clinical setting, it hasn’t previously been widely accessible for patients to use themselves. Bringing this kind of technology to patients can help raise awareness of the importance of regularly checking your own skin for changes and alerts adults to the potential significance of new moles or marks.”

The app has received 350,000 downloads globally, 50,500 in the UK.