A selfie app which helps detect cancer developed by scientists

Taking a selfie can help diagnose pancreatic cancer, according to scientists.

Taking a selfie can help detect cancer. Picture: ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an innovative app which studies selfies with the aim of picking up on any early signs of jaundice.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose but jaundice is a symptom where there is a yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. It is caused by an excess of the pigment bilirubin.

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The ‘BillScreen’ is a radical new tool at detecting Bilirubin, which arises from the break down of haemoglobin

Seventy participants with cases for concern underwent a trial of the selfie app, with 90 per cent being diagnosed correctly.

Users could test themselves at home as they only need to put on paper glasses printed with colourful squares or a 3D-prtined box before taking a selfie using a smartphone which then estimates bilirubin levels.

Jim Taylor, whose own father died from pancreatic cancer, is co-author of the study and a professor in the UW Medicine Department of Pediatrics.

He said: “This relatively small initial study shows the technology has promise.

“Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease with no effective screening right now. Our goal is to have more people who are unfortunate enough to get pancreatic cancer to be fortunate enough to catch it in time to have surgery that gives them a better chance of survival.”