While we encourage Canadians to see their Dr. about unusual moles on their skin, and to be aware of any changes that may occur (refer to the ABCDE’s of skin cancer detection), technology is being created to help monitor moles and skin abnormalities.
One of those apps is Miiskin and we asked Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation intern, Stefanie, to try it for a few months. Her experience with the app can be read below.
As a 20-year-old university student, keeping track of my moles has never been a top priority in my routine. This past October I began an internship with the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation.
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation’s mission is “To prevent and eradicate skin cancer through education, awareness, advocacy and research.” In keeping with the mission, my internship was to research various science aspects that influence skin cancer and sun safety. For example, how UV radiation gets in, what it does to our skin, what the ozone is and what it does for us. I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Through the CSCF I heard about the Miiskin app and I was very excited to try it out. I thought it was a great idea for tracking your moles, what I didn’t expect was that using this app would result in a complete behavior change.
In my early teenage years, I struggled with acne and dry skin, so skincare has always been important to me. While using the app, I became very aware about my relationship with skincare, and how I really take pride in taking care of my skin. In saying that, I also realized that, although skin care has been important to me, I have not been keeping track of my moles, which I know now, is a HUGE part of skin care.
I don’t have very many moles, but the first night using Miiskin, I spent half an hour just searching and taking photos, this including a conversation with my roommate to take a picture of my back while I was standing in the mirror almost naked was a weird favor, especially when it turns into her helping me search my body for spots. It was a bonding experience to say the least.
Once done taking the photo’s the app gives you options for “mole reminders.” These reminders will remind you to check in with your skin for some mole self care. I was given options as to when I wanted to get reminders for checking in and taking some more pictures. I set my reminders to 30 days which means that every 30 days I get to check in and give myself 15 minutes of a skincare routine I was missing.
My moles that I have are pretty small and not dangerous looking. For the ones that you see everyday, it would be hard to notice a slow change. I can definitely see how Miiskin would be an amazing app for someone with skin cancer, or with lots of moles to keep track of. It keeps all of the pictures in the same place and makes it so easy to see a difference. (It also saves the risk of someone seeing photos of moles in weird places when innocently trying to show off fun pictures of your spring break vacay or cute pics of your dog.)
Miiskin definitely made me change my behavior. I now check my body once a month for new moles, and changes in ones that were already there. I have only been using this app for 4 months, but it has opened my eyes to how important checking my skin is. Who knows, 15 minutes once a month could end up saving my life.
Stefanie Wallach is a Sun Safety Awareness Intern with the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation. As well as being a student in Atmospheric Science at the University of Alberta, and a person who loves the outdoors, she has a passionate for spreading knowledge surrounding skin cancer and its causes so that people can play outside while practicing sun safety.