Mole mapper app could be a lifesaver in detecting skin cancer

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A mole mapping app aims to saves lives. (WLS)

Skin cancer is the most common form of the disease. While melanoma accounts for only a small portion of those cancers, it's by far the deadliest.

Could an app help detect that cancer sooner? Some medical inventors are onto it.

John Rusoff's wife insisted her husband get that misshapen mole checked out by his dermatologist.

"The mole was about the size of a pencil eraser, top wise, and I ended up with a five-inch scar on my arm," he said.

"The earlier we catch it, the better off that patient is. The later we catch it, the more life threatening that melanoma is. Period," said Dr. Sancy Leachman, of the dermatology department at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.

Enter the mole mapper. Leachman is spearheading the use of this free new phone app that does exactly what its name describes.

"We are taking pictures of the body and the moles in those body regions and following them over time to see if they're changing. And the idea is that really if you can put this power in the hands of every individual who has a smart phone with a camera, then you're reaching an enormous number of people that way," Leachman said.

The mole mapper reminds you to re-check yourself regularly. And researchers hope the app eventually can tell you to head back to the doctor to have a mole removed.

"If they have a melanoma and they actually pay attention. That will change. By definition, a melanoma is growing. It's a cancer. It's growing out of control," Leachman said..

Since doctors spotted it early, Rusoff called the surgery to remove his melanoma a small "bump in the road."

"It could have been a huge bump, you know, once again, if I had ignored it and it had gotten in places that it shouldn't, and metastasized, I could have a whole different story," Rusoff said.

The app will help gather data from around the country to help melanoma researchers and they hope will help the lives of people especially at risk for the deadly skin cancer.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at

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