A new app for iPhone called Mole Mapper lets you take a different kind of selfie: one that could end up saving your life.
Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University announced the release of the app on Oct. 15, developed in part by researchers in the Department of Dermatology. Part of Apple's ResearchKit line of apps, the Mole Mapper tracks any change in—you guessed it—growth or shape of moles on the app user's body, all with the help of a simple photo taken of each mole on the iPhone camera.
According to Apple and OHSU's description of the app on its Apple page, the Mole Mapper uses a familiar "Maps-like interface," which takes the photographed data and records the dimensions of each mole digitally captured. The app then denotes reference points like average mole size, and size change over time when applicable.
And why moles? Because changes in mole size are frequently indicative of the presence of melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer, which can be detected by the presence of abnormal skin growths (i.e., cancerous skin cells).
"It's amazing to think this app, something I created in my spare time, now has the capacity to involve so many people in the fight against melanoma," said cancer biologist Dan Webster, one of the leading developers of the Mole Mapper, in a press statement released by OHSU. "Tracking your moles on your phone now gives you the opportunity to contribute to cancer research. It's incredible."
The Mole Mapper can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store.
Learn more about the Mole Mapper in the video below.
Photo: Scott Robinson | Flickr