Mole mapper app helps track cancer

Mole mapper is available for iPhone devices

PORTLAND, Ore. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers and while melanoma accounts for only a small portion of those cancers, it’s by far the deadliest. But now, Oregon medical inventors have come up with a smartphone app that can be a life saver.

It was John Rusoff’s wife who insisted her husband get that misshapen mole checked out by his dermatologist.     

“The mole was about the size of a pencil eraser, top wise, and i ended up with a five-inch scar on my arm.” Said Rusoff.

Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Dermatology at OHSU School of Medicine said, “The earlier we catch it, the better off that patient is. The later we catch it, the more life threatening that melanoma is. Period.”

Enter the mole mapper. Doctor Leachman is spearheading the use of this free new phone app that does exactly what its name describes.  

“We are taking pictures of the body and the moles in those body regions and following them over time to see if they’re changing. And the idea is that really if you can put this power in the hands of every individual who has a smart phone with a camera, then you’re reaching an enormous number of people that way.” Leachman continued. 

The mole mapper reminds you to re-check yourself regularly. And researchers hope the app eventually can tell you to head back to the doctor to have a mole removed.  

Leachman stated, “If they have a melanoma and they actually pay attention, which will change. By definition, a melanoma is growing. It’s a cancer. It’s growing out of control.”

Since doctors spotted it early, Rusoff called the surgery to remove his melanoma a small ‘bump in the road.’

“It could have been a huge bump, you know, once again, if I had ignored it and it had gotten in places that it shouldn’t, and metastasized, I could have a whole different story.” Rusoff said.

Mole mapper is available for iPhone devices. The app will help gather data from around the country to help melanoma researchers and, they hope, will help the lives of people especially at risk for the deadly skin cancer. The app was developed by Dan Webster, PHD, a cancer biologist to help his wife monitor her moles between visits with her dermatologist.

Contributors to this news report include: John Hammarley, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Jeff Haney, Videographer.