Researchers to develop cancer detecting smartphones

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Australian researchers on Wednesday said they are developing novel artificial intelligence technology that will allow people to self-diagnose skin cancer using smartphones.

The most critical cue for early diagnosis of skin cancer changes in the appearance of moles and lesions over time.

The technology “will allow a person to simply scan their body with a smartphone by taking a large number of high-resolution images,’’ said Project Leader, Anders Eriksson, from the Queensland University of Technology in a statement.

“The images will be sent to a remote server for processing and within a matter of minutes, a complete 3-D reconstruction of the individual’s body is returned, with every mole and lesion identified, analysed, assessed and compared with previous scans,” said Eriksson.

“This early warning of a change in a mole or lesion will alert a person to see a skin cancer specialist that they can have treatment as soon as possible.”

The breakthrough technology would give Australians the ability to detect skin cancer at an early stage by conducting monthly skin cancer screenings for a fraction of the cost of a physical examination, said Eriksson.

“About 30 new diagnoses of melanoma are made each day in Australia – early detection is vital to skin cancer prognosis,” he said.

“Mortality is directly related to the depth of the cancer, which depends on how long the skin cancer has been growing unnoticed.

“This technology when fully developed could lift the survival rate of melanoma, as we know if it is caught early the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 per cent.”

The research was in its early stages but the new technology was anticipated to be ready in the next three years, he said.