Skin Checks

Skin Checks

I recently posted a blog about Self Aid Buddy Care (SABC). In the blog, I reasoned that self-exams and buddy care are paramount to identify threats early and seek treatment. I gave an example of the time I found a spot of basal cell carcinoma on my forearm. This article describes tools designed to help you track differences of your skin between self-exams.

I went to the dermatologist recently for my semi-annual skin check. Folks that are deemed “high risk” are scheduled for semi-annual skin checks instead of just annual skin checks. I am considered ‘high risk’ because I had skin cancer in the past.

Unfortunately, folks with the BRCA gene mutation are at an increased risk of melanoma. All of the studies I’ve read agree that BRCA positive people do have an increased risk, but they do not agree on the rate of that risk. In one study I am 3% more likely to develop melanoma, and in another study I’m eight times more likely.

In my research, I found a couple of ‘skin mapping’ applications for iOS and Android. I asked my dermatologist if she had a preference and she said, “I prefer any application that grabs your attention and causes you to make an appointment."

The app I chose was CompariSkin by Derm Mapper. The installation is as easy as accessing the app store on my device and searching for it by name. There are two versions of the app, free CompariSkin Basic and the full version for $2. I’ve installed the full version on both my iPhone 10 and my iPad Air2.

The app instructions are easy to follow and there are helpful videos on YouTube.

Setting up two User Profiles is simple, as the app has you follow step-by-step instructions. This app does require a buddy to complete the process. I strongly urge you to watch the videos before starting. Another pearl of wisdom, ** you cannot add close up photos once a skin map has been saved**.

Creating the skin map is accomplished by using the device camera and following the on-screen prompts. The application divides the body into zones. Your buddy super imposes the zone diagram on to your body through the view finder. After they take a photo of the zone, they will be asked if they want to take any close-up photos of a spot within that zone. Answer 'yes' and position a red mark onto the zone picture in the location of the spot. Take a photo of the spot using the camera’s zoom feature. Once all the spots are marked, photographed, and saved then your buddy moves to the next zone.

The skin map is complete once all the zones are photographed and saved.

Once the initial skin map is completed, you can compare subsequent skin maps using the side-by-side tool. There’s an option to include notes and to categorize moles such as 'confirmed benign' or 'biopsied'.

An added benefit is the ability to set up reminders within the app - possibly a reminder of your next appointment with a doctor or perhaps a reminder to update your skin map.

My $.02 worth: It’s a great investment and everyone with a smart phone should be using a skin mapper application.

*This post is not sponsored by the CompariSkin app. My recommendation is based on personal use.