According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers that can affect anyone with any skin color. Risk to skin cancer comes from exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet light, unprotected skin and experiencing sunburns.
Mortality rates from skin cancer are largely from melanoma. 20 Americans die every day from melanoma. Mortality rates vary among females, males, and age groups. Research shows men with melanoma have lower survival rates than women in the same age group.
The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is found and treated before lymph node spread is 99%, whereas after lymph node spread is 66%. Early detection of skin cancer is important in manifesting successful treatment. Skin cancer can be easier to detect in non-Hispanic white individuals than in individuals of color. 25% of African American patient melanoma cases are diagnosed when the skin cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes. This is because skin cancer tends to occur in out of sight areas of the body, where abnormalities may go unnoticed for long periods of time.
SkinIO, a Chicago-based startup biotechnology company, recognizes that the challenge to skin cancer is not finding a cure but early detection. SkinIO’s goal is to make skin cancer detection more accessible and does so with their app that performs a virtual full-body skin exam. The total body photography is paired with AI-powered image analysis to map out a patient’s entire skin surface. The AI can size and categorize moles and identify outliers to be marked for follow-ups.
This technology has proven its use during the pandemic when in person screenings have dropped. The app guides the patient in taking photos and the reviewing dermatologist can view these photos for detection. The guidance from the app will ensure full body coverage going over areas of the body that may go unnoticed.
Kyoko Crawford, CEO and co-founder, was recently named one of Chicago’s 40 Under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business. Kyoko graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. Kyoko Crawford developed SkinIO with Dr. J.C Lapiere, a skin cancer surgeon, with the goal of creating skin cancer detection tangible and accessible. Currently SkinIO has raised over $6.5 million and hopes to continue to use its technology and concept to cover more conditions.