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How Your Phone Could Detect Breast Cancer

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How Your Phone Could Detect Breast Cancer

Over the last year or so there have been an incredible array of innovations that have turned the humble smartphone into an accurate and reliable medical diagnosis device.

· Mobile Zone ·
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Nowhere has this been more exciting than in the field of cancer.  Earlier this year, for instance, a project led by Massachusetts General Hospital, developed a cool new smartphone device that uses holographic technology to collect microscopic images for analysis of cells and tissues for cancer.

There was also a recent Californian project that was seeking mammogram images to help train software to accurately detect cancer quickly and accurately.

The company’s Lesion Tissue Profiling technology has been tested over the last three years.  The technology aims to detect malignant tumors that are not visible to the human eye.  It works because such tumors typically take on a number of basic shapes that distinguish it from healthy tissue.

Smart detectors

The latest project along these same lines comes from the University of Pittsburgh.  They have developed an app that should make it easier to detect melanoma and then determine if a biopsy is needed.  The app, which is documented in a recently published study, compares spots on the skin of a patient with that of a health and malignant sample.

“We know it’s important to detect melanoma early, and we wanted to design a tool that would make it easier for a physician to decide the severity of a lesion based on what we’ve learned from the many cases we’ve already seen,” the authors say.

The application was designed to enable lesions to be classified as either malignant or benign based upon over 50 different features.  It was then put through its paces by calculating the severity score for 173 dermoscopic images of skin lesions that had already received a diagnosis.

The app was capable of accurately detecting the melanoma in 97% of instances, with a slightly higher detection rate than that of clinicians.

“Nothing is better than a board-certified dermatologist evaluating your skin,” the authors say, “but this study indicates that a computer program that can be run on a simple device such as a tablet or smartphone could be a valuable tool for physicians when deciding what to do with a suspicious mark on the skin.”

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