App iden­ti­fies ‘tick­ing time bomb’

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CATRIN OWEN

An Auck­land woman cred­its an app for sav­ing her life. Fran Heald down­loaded Sk­in­Vi­sion, an app that checks skin spots, and started tak­ing pho­tos of her moles back in March.

‘‘I had one on my arm that I’d had for ages and I took a lot of pho­tos of moles over my whole body but that one came back as be­ing high risk,’’ Heald said.

She went to a spe­cial­ist for a gen­eral mole check in North­cote.

‘‘The app was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting me to the mole man and get­ting checked. I don’t know if I would have both­ered.

‘‘He said they’re a tick­ing time bomb un­til you take them off, we took a biopsy and took it off.’’

A month later the re­sults came back and what Heald only thought was a freckle was ac­tu­ally melanoma.

‘‘I have a huge scar but doesn’t re­ally mat­ter.’’

The 49-year-old has be­come more dili­gent and even when she’s out walk­ing she al­ways has sun­block on.

The in­ter­na­tional app was launched in New Zealand in March. Sk­in­Vi­sion’s coun­try man­ager El­iz­a­beth Vin­cent said it en­abled peo­ple to take charge of their own health but was still not a re­place­ment for a doc­tor.

New Zealand has the high­est rates of melanoma in the world, with more than 4000 Ki­wis di­ag­nosed and about 350 peo­ple dy­ing ev­ery year from the disease. it

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Fran Heald pic­tured with her hus­band Dave, cred­its an app to de­tect­ing skin cancer on what she thought was just a freckle.

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