Survey reveals thousands of missed melanoma diagnoses in Britain during Covid-19 pandemic

A global survey of over 700 dermatologists conducted by the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy has revealed the shocking impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the detection of melanoma skin cancer. Compared to a normal year of performing patient skin examinations, dermatologists estimate that one fifth (21%) of melanomas may have gone undiagnosed in 2020, with one third (33.6%) of dermatological appointments missed due to the pandemic. Dermatologists expect 3735 melanomas went undetected in the United Kingdom last year alone. 

With early detection being the key to the treatment of melanomas and other skin cancers, the fact that an estimated 3735 Britons missed their melanoma diagnosis is lethal. To help improve melanoma detection this winter, Melanoma UK and health technology company SkinVision are joining forces to provide a service that helps Britons perform regular skin checks and flags up potential cancers to the attention of healthcare professionals. As part of their ‘LOOK UP’ campaign, the Global Coalition is also offering two digital reminder tools to encourage people to check their skin. 

SkinVision raises awareness of skin cancer by providing a smartphone-based regulated medical device to help individuals assess their risk and get to the doctor in time. Certified by the British Standards Institute, the SkinVision application uses artificial intelligence to compare a user’s skin spots with millions of images of known skin cancers to provide a risk score. Users receiving a high-risk score through the SkinVision Smartcheck also have their result reviewed by a clinician before being encouraged to contact their local healthcare professional for treatment. The app demonstrated a sensitivity rate of 95.1% and specificity rate of 78.3% in the most recent peer reviewed clinical trial. There are presently over 190,000 SkinVision users in the U.K.  

The new SkinVision Melanoma UK service will prompt users to make regular skin checks a habit, in line with the ongoing ‘LOOK UP’ campaign. In app reminders, body mapping and 95% accurate AI smartcheck assessments help people to seek care when they need it. The partnership gives melanoma sufferers free annual licenses. In addition, SkinVision will be discounting annual Skinhealth programmes to £24.99 until the end of March, available on both Iphone and Android devices with the promo code ‘lookup’. As the SkinVision charity of choice, a donation will be made to Melanoma UK for every UK licence purchased to further other awareness campaigns. 

Commenting on the announcement, Melanoma UK’s Corporate Partnership Director Diane Cannon said, “The lockdowns that have been necessary during the Covid crisis, coupled with the additional strain on healthcare systems, have led to a worrying proportion of professional skin checks being missed. With this trend set to continue until we all emerge from the pandemic, it has never been more important for people to check their own skin for melanoma. In our fight against skin cancer, early detection is critical. Embracing the use of technology through our partnership with SkinVision, we can encourage everybody to find just 10 minutes a month and make a skin self-examination part of their regular routine. Everyone needs this app – it could save your life.” 

 SkinVision’s UK Director Gavin Matthews added: 

“The drop in skin cancer diagnoses during the pandemic is a huge concern, and we haven’t even felt the impact yet. Alongside our work with the NHS to help them recover, this partnership is really exciting because it goes right to the root of the problem. The biggest challenge is still that people don’t have the awareness to check their skin often enough and don’t have the skills to check accurately when they do. Melanoma UK’s mission is something we’re proud to be part of, not just by helping early detection with our service now, but also through the other great work that our ongoing donations will support.” 


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