Smartphone camera lens to be used to diagnose skin cancer ‘twice as fast’ in tens of thousands of patients

SMARTPHONE skin scanners are being rolled out in the NHS to double the speed of cancer screening.

Tens of thousands of patients are examined with a dermatoscope when they have a suspicious mole or spot.

From July, a smartphone camera lens will be used to detect skin cancer in NHS patients


From July, a smartphone camera lens will be used to detect skin cancer in NHS patientsPhoto credit: Getty

The 50p format device attaches to a phone and turns the camera into a microscope to provide doctors with high-quality photos without the need for a hospital appointment.

More than 600,000 Britons were screened for skin cancer last year and 56,000 required treatment.

Health chiefs say the new system, which will be rolled out at community diagnostic centers in GP surgeries from July, will double the number of patients doctors can examine per day.

They hope this will save referrals, shorten waiting lists and speed up treatment.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: “There is no denying that increased demand has put enormous pressure on services.

“Fostering the use of digital technology and new ways of working is key to reducing wait times.

“This is a small piece of the kit that has the potential to accelerate the diagnosis and treatment of tens of thousands of skin cancers.”

Skin cancer is common and has very good survival rates. However, certain species can be fatal if left untreated.

Melanoma causes around 2,400 deaths each year. The most common symptom is a mole that has changed shape, size, color, or texture—or that has started to bleed.

Nine out of ten patients survive, but it’s important to catch cases before cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

Dermatoscopes are being rolled out in GP surgeries to give patients in small towns and villages access.

The NHS will also begin to make widespread use of an AI system to help doctors assess a patient’s skin cancer risk.

Trials using Deep Ensemble for the Recognition of Malignancy technology avoided more than 10,000 unnecessary appointments.

Health Secretary Helen Whately said: “This technology will enable dermatologists to treat twice the number of patients per day and by rollout to all community diagnostic centers this will save lives.”

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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