Kiwi skin cancer experts are supporting a smartphone app that claims to monitor and detect melanoma risk, but are warning against relying on it completely.

SkinVision is described in the App Store as a "skin monitor" for melanoma, skin cancer and risky moles, and markets itself as a "melanoma detection app".

Dr Amanda Oakley, an associate professor at the University of Auckland's Waikato Clinical Campus, said the app-makers approached New Zealand.

"I'm absolutely delighted to support any venture we can to get people to go to their doctors if they have lesions of concern," she said.


Oakley is assessing it and others on the market as part of a study into the value and safety of consumer skin cancer monitoring devices compared to professional devices.

But she warned such apps were "not to be completely relied on" to replace a medical practitioner.

"It is very useful to take photographs of skin lesions, but we can be misled by photographs."

SkinVision is the first certified melanoma or skin cancer app in the European Union and has had almost 500,000 downloads.

Chief executive Dick Uyttewaal said it had a growing database of more than 1.3 million suspicious moles.

It has had 100,000 downloads since its launch in Australia last November.