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Tablet scheme to monitor cancer

PEOPLE who have survived skin cancer are to be helped to avoid a relapse by new 'smart' technology developed by experts at a Scottish university.

The technology helps check for signs of a recurrence of the condition and has been developed through a unique partnership between computer scientists and healthcare specialists at Aberdeen University.

Skin cancer patients are told to continually monitor themselves for indications of the disease's return, but this can be a long and demanding process which requires frequent hospital visits.

However, with the University's technique the former cancer sufferers are guided through the process by an animation contained on a tablet computer they could be given when they leave inpatient care.

Primariliy designed to aid those who live in rural locations, the programme sends an email reminder and allows people to send images of skin abnormalities to specialists. It also maintains a gallery of images of the patient's skin so they can see if there are changes since they were last examined.

The Achieving Self-directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) project is a collaboration through the dot.rural RCUK Digital Economy Hub.

Dr Peter Murchie, a clinical consultant at the University said: "People who have had skin cancer are advised to see a specialist every 3-6 months for up to 10 years after [being given the all-clear].

"For people in remote areas, such as Orkney, this can involve a great degree of travel and disruption. ASICA is an experimental study to see if there are opportunities to carry out the check-ups, at least in part, remotely."

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