Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to help GPs spot skin cancers sooner and save lives across mid and south Essex. The technology aids rapid diagnosis and uses a ‘Dermascope’ and AI to enable GPs to make a quick decision on whether a mole or mark is skin cancer or not.
The technology has been launched alongside an innovative campaign which has seen health leaders team up with construction and trade supply firms in a bid to beat skin cancer among tradesmen and outdoor workers. The campaign aims to cut the rate of death in tradesmen to skin cancer which is currently one person every two weeks.
Speaking about the new technology, Dr Elizabeth Towers, Macmillan GP for Mid Essex said:
“Early and rapid diagnosis of skin cancer is very important to improve people’s outcomes. We commissioned this ground-breaking AI tele-dermatology service from Skin Analytics to help GPs with an instant decision on whether or not to refer someone with a mark or mole (lesion) to hospital under the cancer pathway. Some 50% of referrals for skin cancer turn out to be a simple skin problem that can be dealt with in a community dermatology clinic. We hope this will lead to more accurate referrals and take the guess work out of this for GPs.”
Neil Daly CEO and Founder of Skin Analytics said:
“We know that skin cancer disproportionately affects younger people and outdoor workers are at a higher risk again. We’re delighted to be part of this initiative and use our cutting-edge AI to simplify the process for construction workers to get access to rapid skin cancer assessments.”
The construction companies, which include Travis Perkins and Neilcott Construction will be provided with special advice cards, awareness posters and sun cream to support their work force and customers to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun and to recognise an unusual mark or mole and seek help.
Frankie Bircham, Regional Director from Travis Perkins said:
“Many of our customers work outside and are much more exposed than the rest of the population. Helping them to reduce this risk is really important to us, so we’re supporting this NHS initiative by making sun cream available to our customers in branches. We will also have advice cards at our tills to help spread the word around the importance of protecting your skin in the sun.”
Ricky Limacher from Neilcott Construction said:
“We are pleased to team up with the local NHS to support this prevention initiative. Many of our workers enjoy working outside in the sun but don’t realise the harm they can do to their skin. By offering them simple advice cards and factor 30 sun screen, we hope they will take the message on board. Knowing they will be able to access the latest technology to get a faster diagnosis at their GP should be reassuring for them.”