First Derm is on a worldwide mission to #SpotCancer. Last weekend, we kicked off National Skin Cancer Awareness Month in Kansas City, Missouri, Montreal, Canada and Gothenburg, Sweden. In just under 48 hours in three separate countries, the First Derm team screened nearly 100 people and spotted two probable melanomas.

The first goal of #SpotCancer is to educate people about the dangers of the sun. The facts about skin cancer are shocking: 1) each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined and 2) suffering from just five sunburns doubles your risk of developing skin cancer.

It is vital to protect your body from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, covering up with sun protective clothing, and following the guidelines of the American Academy of Dermatology for proper sunscreen use. At each #SpotCancer event this past weekend, we gave away thousands of sunscreen samples thanks to the generous donation of our sponsor, Person and Covey.

The second goal of #SpotCancer is to show the power of our mobile app as a triage service for any skin condition. First Derm complements a yearly dermatologist’s screening and monthly self-exams. Mobile health technology like ours isn’t meant to be a replacement for a dermatologist, but an intermediary service. Check out our new video to see just how the app works to identify skin lesions that should be quickly evaluated and treated by your dermatologist during an in-person appointment.

How does this work exactly? Possible skin cancer lesions (moles, growths, pigmented lesions, etc) are photographed with the smartphone camera (overview) and using an iPhone dermoscope (essentially a medical-grade illuminated magnifying glass) attachment for a close up. These images along with the user’s description of relevant symptoms such as growth or color change, are provided to our team of board-certified dermatologists trained in dermoscopy. From this information, our dermatologists provide users with a sound opinion about the severity of the lesion. Our dermatologists also educate the user on the warning signs of skin cancer and best practices for sun safety.

Results from the weekend: 77 people were screened with First Derm (enhanced with an iPhone dermoscope). Our dermatologists identified:

  • 10 actinic keratoses
  • 2 basal cell carcinomas
  • 2 possible malignant melanomas

First Derm users take this information and seek immediate treatment, bypassing gatekeepers such as the family doctor or the 29 day wait list to see a dermatologist.

First Derm believes that the battle against skin cancer is best fought with prevention and early detection. This begins with education about skin cancer and the effects of the sun. It continues with regular and diligent skin screenings. Keep making your pledges to be sun safe and wear sunscreen 365 days this year. Also stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter more #SpotCancer updates and events from team First Derm.

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