A report analysing users on First Derm’s teledermatology platform found that 74 skin cancers were identified in the first six months. First Derm partnered with the Charles SLBG Foundation to launch the online skin cancer screening project to investigate trends in the use of teledermatology.

First Derm offers skin checks by a panel of board-certified dermatologists. Patients can upload a photograph via a mobile app or an online website and add descriptions and measurements. Dermatologists on the platform are from the US, Australasia, and Europe, with the ability to answer across six languages.

The study, conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka, analysed 2071 responses. 74 cases of skin cancer were identified, including basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, with recommendations for GP follow-ups.

Recommendations included ‘benign, but verify with a dermatoscope’, ‘see a dermatologist if appearance changes’ and ‘no treatment needed’. According to the study, 802 unnecessary consultations were prevented by the service.

Whilst teledermatology as a triage tool can reduce waiting time for in-person visits, this requires implementation in an integrated healthcare system, with direct referral links to primary care physicians. There are also certain limitations when viewing skin over digital two-dimensional images – such as the inability to palpate and investigate other areas of the body.

Charles SLBG Foundation’s aim is to offer increased accessibility to mole testing to detect skin cancers at an early stage.

“Nearly 3000 people die of malignant melanoma in the UK every year, which could have been prevented with early detection and action. The month of May is Melanoma awareness month and it is important to get the word out to the general public to check any suspicious moles,” said Dr Alexander Börve, founder and CEO of First Derm.