Skin cancer can look very harmless to the untrained eye. Luckily for us, there’s an app called SkinVision that analyzes pictures of the spots on a person’s skin and determines whether the person is at a low, medium or high risk of skin cancer using a dermatologist-approved algorithm that checks skin for irregularities in color, texture and shape.
This is welcome news considering skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among men and women. Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers combined. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and its rates have been on the rise for the past 30 years.
SkinVision isn’t currently available in the U.S., but the company says it will be soon. I encourage everyone to get this app as soon as it becomes available. Though an app like SkinVision can’t take the place of an in-person visit to the dermatologist, it encourages people to examine their skin regularly and can help the untrained eye detect potentially dangerous moles or skin cancers.
While waiting for the SkinVision app to be available in the U.S., it’s important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.
Asymmetry — One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half.
Border irregularity — The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
Color — The color is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown and black are present. Dashes of red, white and blue add to a mottled appearance.
Diameter — The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (about the size of a pencil eraser). Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
Evolution — There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding) or color of a mole.
There’s also been a big win for natural medicine in the fight against skin cancer. A common vegetable extract has been proven effective as a skin cancer treatment…
Eggplant extract, or BEC5, is especially potent against skin cancer. It bonds to a receptor on the surface of the cancer cell, making itself available as “food” for the cancer cell. However, as soon as the cancer cell digests the health benefits of eggplant extract, the BEC5 causes the cell to rupture. Once the cancer cell destroys itself, the body simply reabsorbs it.
And in terms of skin cancer prevention:
Vitamin A supplements could reduce the risk of developing melanoma. The reduced risk is more pronounced in women than men. Vitamin A is found in foods such as sweet potato, carrots, spinach, milk, eggs and liver.
A form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide is a cheap and readily available vitamin supplement appears to reduce a person’s risk of non-melanoma skin cancers. The vitamin supplement also appeared to reduce the numbers of thick, scaly patches of skin that can become cancer. Nicotinamide is very different from a more commonly known form of B3, niacin. People who take high doses of niacin can suffer from headaches, flushed skin and low blood pressure. None of these side effects were seen with nicotinamide.