This iPhone app could potentially detect skin cancer, but at what cost?


An iPhone application from the University of Michigan is alleged to be able to achieve the seemingly impossible feat, at least for an ordinary application. It is said that it can diagnose skin cancer!

What the app does is it take several pictures with your smartphone’s camera, and then the app, via it’s software algorithm could predict or detect if you have a skin cancer or not.

Though the app can theoretically save a life, but at what cost, you may ask ? Would one readily go through all the “indecent” exposures necessary before the said cancer diagnosis?

For the app, UMSkinCheck to work and churn out a diagnosis, it needs to take at least 23 snapshot photos of you in your birthday suit via the smartphone’s camera. You didn’t get that? That means pictures of you stark naked! The additional “indignity” you have to undergo for a skin cancer to be diagnosed is that another person, or maybe a partner would have to take the photos for you as you pose. You couldn’t take some of the poses all b oirself. Does that somehow remotely remind you of soft porn?

So to cut a long story short, you’ll need to work around with naked pictures of you in your smartphone app. If you’re that person that are careful with who has access to your phone, then perhaps you do not rightfully have a problem. But otherwise, privacy is what you need to consider before using the app. In addition, could you trust an app, even a medical one, on your privacy and intimate parts? It is definitely a question worth considering before taking the plunge on the app.

Another question worth looking into is whether a piece of software algorithm is good enough to stand in lieu of a doctor’s verdict? Or perhaps it is just an adjunct to your routine medical check up to complement your physician’s, especially if anything is missed out.

Whatever you decide, maybe it is a great way for enthusiasts of total body photography to have their full body photos, without their needing to pose nude in a studio.

If you are not decided yet, the app is free and available only at the US Apple app store.

Download UMSkinCheck

source | The Atlantic

Afewgoodmen is a Physician with Tech as one of his hobbies. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dfewgoodmen

Do you want to talk about this? You can do this in the comment section below. Your comments are welcomed.

Afewgoodmen is a Physician with Tech as one of his hobbies. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dfewgoodmen


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3 Responses to This iPhone app could potentially detect skin cancer, but at what cost?

  1. 19/07/2012 at 10:47


    We are talking of cancer screening here. I see no reason why anyone would not strip and get his/her pix taken by a loved one. That’s no price at all. I know of over 100 people that will gladly strip and pose nude for pictures for as little as $100. Many more are even doing the same on Facebook for free. No need making a mountain out of an anthill. This app is good and worth having. I just downloaded it. About 32Mb in all.

    But if you are still shy and would rather have a cancer than taking few snapshots to forestall it, the app still has a section on self examination which you can perform without taking snapshots. We all know however that whatever result you get on any do-it-yourself method would still have to be confirmed by a medical doctor.

    This is a must have app. It might just save your life.

    Highly recommended.

  2. eye_bee_kay
    19/07/2012 at 11:43

    When I read about this app some days ago, I just summarily dismissed it.

    I mean, can you predict skin cancer via the skin looks ALONE? No specimen? texture feel?

    But for a Doctor (deoladoctor) to actually download this, then he must believe the software is viable.

    But, seriously, Doctors, can you diagnose skin cancer by looks (pictures) alone?

    If so, every iOS device owner should get this pronto!

  3. Harry Echemco
    19/07/2012 at 12:51

    I can smell a rat in this whole thing. And no I won’t die of cancer. There are numerous other means of detecting and forestalling skin cancer. Apple does not allow porns and related material into their AppStore. How are we sure this is not a scheme to rub it in their faces.

    I do hope it is not a scheme for collecting pornographic materials by some vermin or a little devilment by some hackers to belittle Apple’s AppStore policies and scrutiny.

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