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Is that little mole a big problem? Ask Doctor Mole, the smartphone app that checks for signs of skin cancer



Most people with moles know they should check them regularly for signs of skin cancer, but how many of us actually know what we're looking for?
At the tap of a screen, a new smartphone app can help identify if a little blemish might turn into a big problem.
'Doctor Mole' uses augmented reality technology to check moles for irregularities in size, shape, colour and border.
After taking a picture of a mole, the user is presented with a colour-coded 'risk' level for each of these characteristics.
The app can archive and compare data to check for any changes in a mole. It will also remind the user when it's time to check a mole again.
Changes in moles are a common sign of malignant melanoma, one of the three main types of skin cancer. Melanmoma can also develop in normal-looking skin.
Although less common than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma causes the majority of deaths from skin cancer. It is mainly caused by exposure to UV rays.
Mark Shippen, the developer of Doctor Mole, lives in Australia, which has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world.
Having lived in South Africa for 26 years before moving to Australia, he's experienced the danger of having fair skin in a hot climate. 
'I have already had 3 basal cell carcinomas removed from my neck, face and back, and at my age this is very rare. So I have pretty much seen first hand the dangers of the sun. That's where the idea for Doctor Mole came from.
'I don't have a background in medicine, but when I found my first cancer a few years back I pretty much read everything about it and had a solid understanding of what to look for. Then it was just a simple case of combining the knowledge I had gained with my software development skills, and DoctorMole was created.'


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