Since threats of COVID-19 pushed the world into isolation, one demographic has had to be exponentially more cautious about in-person contact– senior citizens.
In an effort to protect themselves against the coronavirus, though, other essential healthcare habits among older adults have fallen to the wayside. These include regularly scheduled skin cancer screenings.
Nearly ten thousand people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. every single day– affecting over three million Americans each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
But, over forty percent of melanomas are found in patients over the age of sixty-five.
In turn, decreasing skin cancer screenings due to fears of COVID-19 can mean an exponential amount of unknown diagnoses in older people.
In fact, compared to 2019, screening visits plummeted by thirty-seven percent, and skin cancer diagnoses decreased twenty-three percent in 2020.
Kavita Sarina, an associate professor of dermatology at Stanford Medicine, reviewed these stats and decided that change needed to happen immediately to save the lives of older Americans.
So, she drew inspiration from other technology used to keep people connected during the pandemic and conceptualized a mobile app study to help older adults seek safe and accessible dermatological care.
“This study was born out of a clinical responsibility to our patients,” Sarina explained.