Many of us think about getting our skin checked but following through is another thing. Now we might be able to get the process started without having to leave home. The Firstcheck skin cancer app has been launched in Australia and promises “low-cost, anonymous, quick and easy access to the most qualified skin specialists in Australia”.

How does it work? Pretty simply. Patients just have to upload a photo of their skin condition, pay $19.95 and then a specialist will respond within 72 hours. For more details on how it works exactly you can check out this video on the app’s website.

If something concerning is detected the app will let you know if you need further consultation and connect you to a specialist for an in-person appointment. And it’s not just suspicious moles that can be checked. The app’s experts will also look at spots, rashes and other skin, hair or nail issues.

Skin cancer app could help rural communities


Hayden Laird co-founded the app after his grandfather was diagnosed with melanoma. He told Nine News he wanted to help people detect skin cancer earlier and provide patients in remote communities with access to specialist care.

“We want to be connecting people with their local skin specialists, in every town and every city,” Mr Laird said.

“Growing up in a rural community in New Zealand, the closest skin care specialist was a two hour drive away, so the app breaks those barriers,” he said.

The app was trialled successfully in New Zealand before being brought across to Australia. According to Mr Laid, it has been downloaded nearly 4,500 times.

Experts warn apps shouldn’t replace GP visit

This isn’t the first skin cancer app released to help people check their skin. Terry Slevin, from the Cancer Council, told ABC News there were at least 26 smartphone apps on the market.

He said they’re useful for reminding people to check their skin and to keep records of concerning moles but there isn’t any evidence to prove the apps are a reliable way of detecting skin cancers.

“The accuracy of the diagnosis is the core of the issue. So far no-one has it perfectly right,” Mr Slevin said.

“Even specialist dermatologists using the naked eye or a dermatoscope don’t always pick a skin cancer. An app is not going to cut off a bit of skin and send it to a pathologist.”

Mr Slevin, however, agreed apps could be helpful in rural areas and said he hopes more research is done.

“We are still seeing too many people diagnosed with advanced-stage melanoma,” he said.

“I don’t think these apps are bad unless people rely upon them too heavily … at the end of the day the person you should rely on is the medical professional.”

There are free skin apps available that don’t detect skin cancer but will help with sun safety including the SunSmart app. This one tells you when sun protection is recommended for your location using forecast information from the Bureau of Meteorology website and live UV data.

House Call Doctor also wrote an article on: Skin patches: a “breakthrough” in sun safety If you need to speak to GP and it is after hours, patients can request a home doctor in Brisbane by calling house call doctor on 13 55 66.