Apps Used for Melanoma Detection Under Scrutiny

The Federal Trade Commission is keeping a close eye on medical apps that claim to help you analyze symptoms and detect conditions like melanoma.
2:44 | 09/01/15

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Transcript for Apps Used for Melanoma Detection Under Scrutiny
Coming up next, "Gma investigates." Medical apps that claim they can help you analyze symptoms. The ftc is now taking action concerned about some of the claims being made and ABC's Mara schiavocampo has more. Reporter: Worried about a suspicious mole after your exposure to sun this summer? It turns out there's an app for that. I thought, oh, my gosh, well I'm going to try this. Reporter: Julie gave mole detective a shot. The app told users to upload a photo along with other information to help see if you might have a suspicious mole. Then if the app returned a green light it claimed melanoma risk was low, red was high. Julie's husband died of melanoma so her family is on high alert for the December. She says she tried the app on her daughter Lilly's arm. It came back red. Reporter: But a visit to the dermatologist showed lily was fine. Hugh says mole detective gave her a false positive. I just became very concerned about this app being available on the market. Reporter: So was the federal trade commission. It recently sued the marketers of mole detective and another app called melapp accusing them of making desip tiff claims regarding melanoma detection. Both companies settled the suit without admitting wrongdoing and agreed not to make deceptive claims in the future. We were not given evidence showing that they were accurate in any way. Reporter: With thousands of medical apps on the market and new ones popping up all the time, the ftc says it's keeping a close eye on this market. Dermatologist laura ferris of the university of Pittsburgh medical center conducted a study on the accuracy of several apps for melanoma detection. Three were automated and gave back an answer right away. Reporter: The best one missed 30% of melanomas, the worst one missed 93%. While the apps say they're for educational purposes only, ferris is concerned customers could rely on that. You shouldn't trust diagnosis of cancer to something like an app that doesn't have data to back it up. Reporter: As for mole detective, its representatives told "Gma investigates" that the company settled because litigation was too costly and the ftc's claims were unfounded. The marketer for Mel app could not be reached for comment. Both apps included disclaimers advising users to see a physician for any concerns and for regular checkups. For "Good morning America," Mara schiavocampo, ABC news, new York. Our thanks to Mara for that. Both the mole detective and Mel app are minutes before, I think. Wow. So, yeah, they just told me to be there early because there was going to be a meeting and th eye wane md to be there to ask questions and so I was like,

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