Covid Side Effects: Skin Cancer Diagnosis
The covid impact on the worlds healthcare systems has rightly, been at the forefront of most data analysis and discussion. However, despite the rhetoric largely focussing on the direct impact of Covid, there is an increasing fear that as the pandemic persists, other aspects of our health will suffer.
For those of us trapped at home, this will come as no surprise as many of us are encouraged to consider our mental health and deal with common illnesses at home.
However, the new data emerging is now highlighting the knock on effects the Covid crisis has on serious illnesses. One disease with increasing concern is skin cancer. Detection for this killer disease is down 50% on last year. Let’s take a look at the reasons why.
No Visit, No Diagnosis
The most apparent cause for the decline in diagnosis for life-threatening diseases is the reduction in patient visits. This is especially true of skin cancer, a disease that has to be spotted early to prevent serious complications.
Fewer patients now feel confident visiting a clinic and in many cases, dermatology clinics have bene forced to close. With this means a decrease in skin cancer numbers and this does not mean less people are getting it…
What’s the Problem?
For many diseases, detecting the problem a little later than it could be detected pre-covid is not a huge problem. There are a significant number of diseases that will not advance dramatically in the space of 6 months. However, skin cancer is not one of them.
As skin cancer advances without detection, the likelihood of survival diminishes rapidly. Take Melanoma for example, 95% of cases are treated effectively, it is one of the easiest cancers to treat. However, if it is not spotted early it is one of the deadliest and few survive.
To quote the research on this concern:
Our findings suggest that COVID-19 has materially delayed diagnosis and care for patients with skin cancer. Although the number of diagnoses returned to the approximate June to August 2019 baseline, a substantial backlog of undiagnosed cases still remains, with associated delay implications. Further studies may determine whether these delays will materially affect the stage at which subsequent skin cancers present and the potential associated increases in morbidity and mortality that may occur.
What’s the Solution?
Since the problem lies in detection the solution is focussed on checking patients, especially those at high risk.
Fortunately, detecting skin cancer is now easier than ever thanks to the wonders of technology. Take our service as an example. Simply upload a photo and our Dermatologists can provide results on your skin disease.
As well as using a Teledermatology solution such as First Derm, there are new advances that make testing even easier. Our Artificial Intelligence is capable of providing an answer on a skin concern within seconds and with accuracy of 80%. You can test it out for free anonymously whenever you want!
Our underlying point to this new research is that we all must do more to get checked. If you notice a mole changing or you’re concerned a new mole has popped up, try our AI, send in an image or speak to your GP. Either way, get checked now before it’s too late.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence.