Mole Mapper: Tracking Potential Skin Cancers on the Go


There really is an app for everything.

There really is an app for everything.

Newly released iPhone app, Mole Mapper, allows patients to accurately measure and monitor their moles.

Dan Webster, cancer biologist, and Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Dermatology, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), created this app to help monitor Webster’s wife’s moles between visits to the dermatologist.

Using an open source framework called ResearchKit, Mole Mapper allows users to maintain their images exclusively on their phones to later share with their dermatologists. Additionally, upon signing an electronic consent form, the users can enroll in OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Melanoma Community Registry to gain more insight about current research surrounding early detection and prevention.

Since the registry launch in 2014, more than 3,600 melanoma patients, family members, and friends have joined.

“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. Tracking your moles on your phone now gives you the opportunity to contribute to cancer research. It’s incredible,” said Webster.

According to Leachman, “Our hypothesis is that digital images taken by members of the public on cell phones could one day be used to develop diagnostic algorithms for melanoma.

Since earlier diagnosis can benefit long term treatment, according to Leachman, the MoleMapper can be another tool to give health care providers additional data about patient recommendations and diagnoses.

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