2013-08-08

Mapping The Mole To Help Stop Skin Cancer

What if your doctor took a perfect image of your body every visit that could be compared to the one before, so you could see any changes? A new startup called Constellation thinks that if robots can drive cars, they can image the human body.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. The best way to catch it is to look at your moles and track their changes over time. But it’s hard to see a lot of the parts of your body, and though a doctor can give you an exam, you have a lot of skin and it can be hard for them to examine it all thoroughly.

The National Skin Cancer Foundation website offers a PDF map of the body that you can download, print, and then use a ruler to track your moles, before pulling out the piece of paper a month later to check your measurements. "This is the 21st century and the best medical advice is to download a paper map and measure your moles with a ruler. This doesn’t make any sense," says Christian Bailey, one of the founders of Constellation, a health-tech startup that is working on a full body scan that will monitor and track your moles.

When ready, Bailey and cofounder Jonathan Swerdlin say Constellation’s software will take just a few seconds and will scan all the moles in your body. Come back for your next checkup and the software will scan you again and note any changes. Right now, they can increase the size of the moles with a marker, and the software picks it up.

They’re still in the prototyping stage, but soon, a map of your moles will be another part of the expanding portfolio of e-health records we’ll all have and which will—hopefully—save lives.

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