If you grew up in New Zealand like me, the Slip Slop Slap message became as much a part of summer as jandals and Coppertone.
So much so that we all pretty much tuned it out.
I was born in the late seventies to hardworking parents who lived for the weekends when we could all head to the beach or out on the boat. Maximising our hours in the sun was our number one goal. The only time I remember wearing sunscreen was when fluorescent zinc was in fashion for five minutes in the eighties lol.
I never saw my Dad, a marine engineer, apply sunscreen.
He died of melanoma at age 56. Five years ago, nine months after diagnosis.
Since then, my job as a mother has a new onus – to protect my boys from ever getting sunburnt. Ever.
The thing with melanoma is, there are often very visible signs that things are not as they should be. The difficulty in diagnosis lies in monitoring visible changes in our skin with accurate record keeping and analysis. This is both costly and very hard to implement.
This week I downloaded the SkinVision app. It’s the first of its kind, a revolutionary tool native to our ever-present smartphones that provides simple to use, instant melanoma risk assessment of any mole whilst creating an easy to use archive of photos. I’ve created folders for every member of our family so I can snap suspect moles and archive the images for comparison each month (I’ve also set ongoing calendar reminders to take new images!). Creating a routine is just as important for melanoma detection and prevention as it is with breast cancer.
To be clear though, SkinVision is not a diagnostic tool, it assesses the risk of skin lesions and provides recommendations based on analysis of the image procured from the app. With an accuracy rate of roughly 80% for identifying melanoma skin cancer (www.stuff.co.nz, 6.4.16), SkinVision has positioned itself comfortably between the diagnosis rate of GP’s and dermatologists – a rate that sits very well with me.
I’ve had my skin mapped so am familiar with the process and was impressed with how similar the imaging from SkinVision was. My skin is dodgy as – obviously there is a high chance that there is a genetic risk factor for melanoma in our family. I’m covered in moles and there are more appearing all the time so having access to risk assessment technology that I trust is invaluable to both myself and our family.
These are screen-grabs of my SkinVision app. Unfortunately I have many, many high-risk moles, some of which are very small, so it would be super easy to overlook them. See that ‘send to doctor’ button? How cool is that! No more procrastinating!
What you need to know about SkinVision
- SkinVision will help you spot a suspicious mole on yourself or on a family member or friend
- It’s free to download (click here) and includes a 1 month trial period
- Easy to manage archive of images for ongoing self monitoring
- UV index included in app + tailored info around your personal risk and skin type
- It does not diagnose melanoma. It assesses the risk of each mole developing melanoma and makes recommendations based upon this risk (it has an 80% accuracy rate and has been downloaded over 50k times in New Zealand alone!)
For me the value in this app was only realised after I began to use it. Discovering medium and high risk moles was the wake-up call that I needed to take ownership of my skin health and my family history with melanoma.
I urge you to try SkinVision, it costs nothing to download and will change the way you think about the risk we all face against melanoma.
I am SO happy to be able to offer SEVEN of you the chance to win a SkinVision annual plan! To enter just leave me a comment below. Competition closes 27.4.16.