Why you shouldn't rely on apps to detect skin cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Why you shouldn't rely on apps to detect skin cancer

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YAKIMA, WA - Turning to an internet search whenever you have a health concern is often step one when you're trying to figure out what's wrong. And nowadays more and more people are turning to using cell phone applications to self-diagnose themselves when it comes to melanoma. Inside your phone app's store you'll seen an extensive variety of free and or low-costing apps telling you they can detect skin cancer.

"You can look at a textbook picture of melanoma and have twenty different presentations and that's the problem," says Kathleen Stewart, physician assistant at Valley Dermatology Associates.

That's the problem with a lot of these skin cancer apps - they aren't always accurate. Some have a doctor who checks out what you send in, but most are controlled and analyzed by an algorithm. After a few weeks it will tell you whether or not it detects melanoma. The problem is those applications are solely relying on the ABC's of the affected area. That's the asymmetry irregular border, and irregular color of a mole. Unfortunately melanoma doesn't follow those rules. Stewart says the apps just aren't thorough enough when it comes to fully inspecting a mole - there's more than what appears on the surface.

In addition to just the ABC's of melanoma, you should constantly look for any suspicious-looking moles to see if something is changing or to see if something stands out from other spots. Above all, if you do see anything suspicious, make sure to go in to your dermatologist.