With This New App, A Selfie Could Detect Cancer

A smartphone app developed at the University of Washington may help detect diseases like pancreatic cancer and hepatitis.

A collaboration between medical doctors and computer science engineers at the University of Washington has just resulted in an app called BiliScreen. By gathering information from a selfie, BiliScreen can determine if a person has jaundice before it’s visible to the naked eye, an indicator that bilirubin levels are elevated. Too much bilirubin n the blood stream can be a symptom of many medical conditions, including hepatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 9%, partly because there are no non-invasive ways to detect the disease and catch tumors before they spread to other organs. In a small, early study of BiliScreen, the app able to correctly identify cases of concern 89.7% of the time. The developers are continuing to test and fine-tune BiliScreen with a larger population of subjects.

Their hope is that individuals will use BiliScreen to test themselves at home and potentially catch any medical problems early.

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