Could a selfie be used to screen for pancreatic cancer?

Posted at 4:38 PM, Aug 31, 2017

It seems like there's an app for pretty much everything now. But one program that's in the works could perhaps save your life.

Researchers at the University of Washington are developing an app that could screen for pancreatic cancer just by taking a selfie.

The app would find any yellow discoloration in your eye, which is caused by a buildup of bilirubin in your blood.

Currently there's no screening test for pancreatic cancer because it's so hard to detect. The new app could change that.

But Medical Oncologist, Dr. Lindsey Davis with UCHealth in Denver says that what while it could help in some cases, it wouldn't work for everyone.

"Though some patients do have high bilirubin levels in their body when they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer not everyone does. So though this app is designed to look for this finding of bilirubin levels increased in the blood it wouldn't be a universal sign," says Davis.

Davis also says the app may detect cancer earlier than a doctor could with the naked eye, or think about having them get a blood test for the cancer.

Early tests show the app works nearly 90 percent of the time.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States.