Cancer is never a positive word to hear when it comes to a medical diagnosis. However, in a technology-dominated era, when any abnormal symptoms arise, patients tend to look for immediate answers on general, accessible search engines rather than specialized healthcare websites.1
This article will look to describe if there’s any correlation between internet searches and reduced mortality rates from melanoma and other skin cancers.
1. Searches on the rise but no direct effect on melanoma mortality
In times when giant search engines seem to cover all aspects of life, it’s not surprising to see that the majority of disease-related research on a patient’s end starts with a search.1 Indeed, recent studies demonstrate that the search for specific terms surrounding the issue of cancer have been on the rise. Specifically, searches involving the keywords “skin cancer”, increased during summer times from 2010 to 2014, 2 which reflects a greater interest from the population to inform themselves on the disease characteristics during the period of supposedly highest risk.
Surprisingly, beyond the direct increase in a potential interest to understand the symptoms revealing skin cancer, a deeper analysis of medical data suggests no direct correlation between higher search volumes and reduced mortality caused by melanoma and other skin cancers.2 This poses a strong interrogant towards understanding whether the use of general search engines to find accurate medical data serves any purpose for patients. Paradoxically, scientific-based websites like the US “cancer.gov” platform seem to only be receiving those visitors who find them in their searches. In a matter where late-stage diagnosis can dramatically decrease survival rates, this calls for higher dedication to appropriately inform the population on skin cancer.
Improved communication and education are vital in order to empower patients with effective tools that can give them an edge on skin cancer. Connectivity and active involvement are required to offer support at every step of this process.
2. DermEngine and MoleScope as a synergistic approach to help patients and doctors
Education of patients can be a daunting task for medical professionals if they count on scarce resources. The fight against skin cancer goes beyond researching for key terms and trying to identify what the observed symptoms correlate to. Patients are required to be part of the healthcare cycle where they can contribute to what doctors are already doing and together adopt a suitable strategy to combat the disease.
In this regard, MoleScope and DermEngine offer an integrative solution to skin cancer early detection. Working in synergy, MoleScope is a highly accurate mobile dermoscope that can be utilized on smartphones or tablets in order to take magnified images of suspicious spots on the skin. This allows patients to be directly aware of any evident changes, thus making them the first and largest frontline of care.
DermEngine on the other hand, is an intelligent dermatology software designed to work seamlessly with MoleScope. This cloud-based EMR allows for all images taken on a MoleScope device to be synced to DermEngine in real-time for analysis, documentation and diagnosis at the earliest possible. The complementing nature of both tools make it easy for patients and doctors to proactively detect cancer in the most treatable phases.
Despite the growing wealth of information of this technology-driven era, over-information can lead to misinformation. Other fields can better handle such drawbacks, however in healthcare disciplines lives are at stake, making it imperative to have proper communication and education. Skin cancer mortality rates can be greatly reduced if the proper tools are put in place to connect patients with accurate information and active healthcare providers. DermEngine constitutes a powerful solution to achieve these goals to promote the early detection of cancer and save lives.
-The MetaOptima Team
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