Google Developing Mole Check Smartphone App

Earlier this year, Google shared that it is creating an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool to help people find information that matches their skin issues and photos.

Could the new breed of AI and smartphone apps help in the battle against skin cancer by diagnosing worrying moles and skin lesions earlier?

We have certainly become accustomed to relying on our smartphones and apps many times a day for all sorts of purposes, from checking emails and transferring funds to controlling the central heating, shopping, reading and social media.

There are apps available to check your moles too. The apps enable patients to upload a photo showing the mole. It is then analysed by software to see whether it is likely to be melanoma or benign. On the plus side, the concept of using a phone is well understood now and readily available. However, the main issue of concern has always been that experts are dubious about clients relying on these for important health information. A 2018 Cochrane review found that four AI-diagnosis apps made incorrect diagnosis of melanomas between 27% to 93% of the time.

Fundamentally, it is feared that technology is not accurate enough and can not replace a trained and experienced professional in picking up the sometimes subtle markers that your blemish is something that needs urgent attention.

Google AI dermatology tool

Figures from Google show that there are now nearly 10 billion searches related to skin, nail and hair issues every year, so it is an area that a lot of people are looking at. Google says:

“Two billion people worldwide suffer from dermatologic issues, but there’s a global shortage of specialists. While many people’s first step involves going to a Google Search bar, it can be difficult to describe what you’re seeing on your skin through words alone.”

In May, Google gave a preview of its own Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool that it is developing to help clinicians and patients alike.

The tool will enable people to upload 3 photos of their skin, hair or nail concern. It will also ask a few key questions before giving its suggestions of matching conditions, together with further information.

Google stress that this is not intended to replace a consultation, but instead to help clients research more before they seek attention:

“The tool is not intended to provide a diagnosis nor be a substitute for medical advice as many conditions require clinician review, in-person examination, or additional testing like a biopsy.

“Rather we hope it gives you access to authoritative information so you can make a more informed decision about your next step.”

In person consultation

The human factor is key and anyone with concerns about moles, blemishes or skin lesions is encouraged to seek attention.

UK leading mole expert Dr Ross Perry shares his advice on what to look for and what to do in case of concern in this video:

The ‘Ugly Duckling’ rule – what to look for

“It’s normally pretty easy to spot what we call the ‘ugly duckling’.

“So this is a mole that just looks different from all your other moles. It’s often dark, it’s often flat, and it often doesn’t really cause any symptoms.

“If you’ve got a mole that looks different from all your other moles and is changing, then that’s something to keep an eye on; or maybe if you’re concerned, go and see your doctor.”

mole check photo app selfieMole Assessment

Professional Mole Check

For ultimate peace of mind, Cosmedics Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer a thorough top to toe mole check.

This is a fully comprehensive mole check which is carried out in great detail, from checking the scalp for any concerns that may be hidden by the hair, to examining under the toenails.

The full mole check is carried out in person by trained and experienced doctors and surgeons.

Skin Surgery Laser Clinics

Cosmedics’ Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer private mole removal at a selection of clinics based in London and Bristol. Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with trained doctors and surgeons. Our team of qualified and experienced doctors and surgeons also treat other skin blemishes, including sebaceous cysts, skin tags, warts and lipoma.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.

Treatment using  freezing, laser or surgical techniques is available at Skin Surgery Laser Clinic who have a selection of locations conveniently based in London and Bristol. All procedures are carried out by highly trained and experienced doctors and surgeons.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.