KAWARTHA LAKES-The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation website suggests skin cancer cases outnumber lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined, and that one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is skin cancer. Yet, in Canada, we routinely dismiss melanoma, other skin cancers, and other skin abnormalities as being harmful due to their low mortality rate.
“Skin cancer is more serious than people think,” says Heidi Veluw, Executive Director of the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation. “Unfortunately, there is a considerable shortage of dermatologists and skin specialists in Canada and people are slipping through the cracks.”
Skinopathy, a Canadian medical technology company, alongside the Melanoma Network of Canada (MNC), the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (CSCF), and the Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF), are announcing the #StopWaiting campaign as part of their Digital Health Week celebration taking place November 29 to December 5, 2021.
“Unfortunately, melanoma and skin cancer screening are not top of mind. Regular skin-checks do not get the same consideration as mammograms, PSA tests and other cancer screenings,” says Falyn Katz – Executive Director, Melanoma Network of Canada
The campaign is geared to raise awareness about skin diseases and skin cancers, all while providing Canadians an option to have their suspicious moles analyzed by artificial intelligence and confirmed by doctors through the new GetSkinHelp mobile app.
The new GetSkinHelp app is the most advanced skin cancer and skin disease mobile app on the market, and all services are covered by Canadian health cards.
Many Canadians are not aware, or do not fully appreciate, the dangers associated with harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. In fact, the World Health Organization includes ultraviolet tanning devices in its Group 1 list of cancer-causing agents, right next to plutonium and cigarettes. A 2015 article by Scientific American adds that you are more likely to get skin cancer from tanning beds than you are to get lung cancer from smoking.
Most people do not act until the discomfort of a lesion, mole, or rash is greater than the hassle of seeing a doctor. Problem is, once people choose to see a doctor, they may face long wait times which in turn can increase morbidity.
“Early detection is so important in skin cancer.” says Natalie Richardson, Managing Director of the Save your Skin Foundation. “Most forms of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer are much more easily treated when they are caught early.”
This has worsened over the last few years as preventive skin cancer screenings have either been delayed or outright cancelled due to the pandemic. Richardson mentions that reports from the CDC, WHO, and Melanoma Research Foundation suggest that since the start of the pandemic, approximately 1,999 melanomas were undiagnosed in Canadadue to the strain levied on the healthcare system.
#StopWaiting and Get It Checked Out
One way to ease pressure on the healthcare system is through innovative technologies, such as telemedicine.
Jim Keizer, a retired pharmacist of 40 years based in Iroquois Falls – a small town one hour Northeast of Timmins, Ontario – originally had doubts about telemedicine. “My concern was about continuity-of-care. When patients get moved from one doctor to another doctor, especially virtually, errors can happen,” says Mr. Keizer. “But we have such a shortage of doctors in our parts that telemedicine is the only solution we have left.”
The GetSkinHelp mobile app allows individuals to access the SkinAI™ technology – an embedded artificial intelligence that allows people to quickly analyze for a selection of skin diseases, including skin cancers – and schedule video appointments with a licensed Canadian doctor who can help determine next steps.
From there, the doctor might suggest an in-person appointment or simply write a prescription, which will be sent to the patient’s home or pharmacy. What is most important is that the app gets a person in front of a doctor faster than traditional means.
“That is what the #StopWaiting campaign and the new GetSkinHelp app are all about,” says Keith Loo, Co-Founder and CEO of GetSkinHelp. “We want to provide Canadians a simple way to get their skin examined by doctors.”
Best of all, both the app and medical appointments are covered by provincial health plans.