Health charity Skin Check Champions, the University of South Australia, and The Hospital Research Foundation have teamed up to launch a pop-up clinic that uses AI to diagnose skin cancer.
Their pop-up clinic is led by nurses who take high-quality lesion images from patients, which are then triaged and conditionally diagnosed by AI algorithms to check if they are cancerous. The results are also verified by local GPs.
The pop-up clinic was piloted during the 2023 Tour Down Under road cycling race in Victor Harbor early in the week.
WHY IT MATTERS
During their lifetime, two out of three Australians will have some form of skin cancer with over 15,000 Australians getting diagnosed with melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer and the third most diagnosed cancer in the country. The disease is also costing the Australian health system around A$400 million ($280 million) each year, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Despite this fact, skin cancer prevention programmes remain “underfunded and under-resourced, especially outside large cities,” Marion Eckert, professor of Cancer Nursing at UniSA, noted. It was observed that skin cancer rates in regional areas are up to 31% higher than in metropolitan areas.
If spotted early, more than 98% of skin cancer cases can be prevented, Prof Eckert added. This is why Skin Check Champions and its partners started the pop-up clinic project.
“Our goal is to halve the number of Aussies who die from melanoma and increase the number of skin checks in Australia by 25% by running a targeted AI-supported national skin check programme,” said Skin Check Champions CEO Scott Maggs.
People living in regional areas can access skin check services via their pop-up clinic, which will come at local community events such as the Tour Down Under.
There are a couple of AI technologies available in the market which claim to detect skin cancer with high accuracy. Just last year, dermatology AI company Skin Analytics got its machine learning-based device DERM approved by medical device regulators in the United Kingdom. In 2021, ASX-listed Advanced Human Imaging received a CE mark for its smartphone-based DermaScan AI technology, which can also screen for all types of skin cancer.
Meanwhile, there is another smartphone-based app from Denmark that uses AR technology to check the size of suspected lesions or moles. The Miiskin app helps in the self-examination of lesions suspected of becoming melanoma.