This App Can Detect Pancreatic Cancer From a Simple Selfie

Scientists found a way to use technology that's in everyone's hands to save lifes

Sep 11, 2017

Since the rise of smartphones, selfies have become so commonplace that even the Oxford English Dictionairy officially added the word in 2013. Hardly anyone would have ever thought that just a few years later, a selfie-scanning app could actually save lifes.

The Biliscreen app, which was developed by researchers at the University of Washington, uses a simple smartphone camera to detect pancreatic cancer from nothing more than the whites of your eyes before the onset of obvious symptoms.

Pancreatic cancer is known as one of the most deadly “silent” cancers with one of the worst prognoses and only about five percent of patients survive past five years with the disease because there are no telltale symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumour before it spreads.

Biliscreen uses artificial intelligence to detect increased bilirubin levels in the sclera, the whites of the eyes. Elevated bilirubin levels cause jaundice, which can be one of the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

The team behind the app hopes that it could be used by people at home once a month and thereby help to catch and treat the disease before it's too late. BiliScreen could even potentially ease the burden on patients who have already been diagnosed who require frequent bilirubin monitoring.

Instead of costly and time consuming trips to the doctor for these check-ups, patients can now do the same test from the comfort of their home.

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