What is Mole Mapper?
Mole Mapper is a cellphone app available in Apple®’s App Store and on Google Play™ store. Part of the ResearchKit and ResearchStack suite of apps, Mole Mapper will help to gather data for melanoma research and, potentially, impact health outcomes in individuals at risk for melanoma. Using your phone camera, Mole Mapper tracks moles and how they change and grow over time. Rapid change or growth may indicate malignancy. Mole Mapper also reminds you to re-check your moles regularly. By sharing mole images over time, researchers can develop new ways of evaluating moles and may (at some point in the future) be able to tell whether you need to see a doctor or have a mole removed based upon a cell phone picture.
Mole Mapper was developed by a Ph.D. cancer biologist, Dan Webster, to help his wife (who is at high risk of melanoma) monitor her moles between visits with her dermatologist. This app allows users to photograph and map moles to zones on the body, and monitor changes in the size of the moles relative to a reference object (like a coin), over time. App users can maintain these images exclusively on their phone app to share with their medical team. Or, after a consent process on the app, they can transmit the data from images and periodic surveys to researchers for analysis.
NOTE: Mole Mapper is NOT designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment. Currently, there is not enough data to develop an app that can diagnose melanoma, but if enough data is collected through Mole Mapper and shared with researchers, it may be possible in the future. Mole Mapper should not be used in place of consultation with a physician or health care provider at this time. It is a tracking tool for monitoring moles yourself, for sharing with your physician, and is a means to engage in research.
How is this related to the War on Melanoma™?
This new app is another mechanism to broadly engage people across the U.S. in the War on Melanoma™ and collect data to find answers. It empowers you to learn what is normal for your body, monitor any changes, and share those photos with your medical team. Additionally, if you provide permission (consent), you can securely transmit your photos via the app for a research study. In this study, we will test if digital cell phone images can be used to develop diagnostic algorithms for melanoma. To do so, we need a large number of images. You can also enroll in the Melanoma Community Registry and become a warrior in our "army," to fight melanoma on multiple fronts.