Bupa UK has launched a new remote skin assessment service to provide all its health insurance customers with fast detection of skin cancers from the safety of their home, and without the need for a GP referral*.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, and cases are on the rise. Over the last decade melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by almost two-fifths (38%), and over 16,000 new cases are diagnosed every year according to Cancer Research UK.
It is hoped that the ease and speed which Bupa customers can now get moles and marks checked by an expert dermatologist using the new service will encourage more people to come forward and get help with any concerns.
Dr Luke James, Medical Director, Bupa Global & UK said: “If detected early enough skin cancer is easily treated and survival rates are high. However, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers are often delayed because people are aren’t confident identifying the symptoms or are concerned about wasting the doctors time. This has been more telling during the pandemic.
“Most moles are harmless and they’re usually nothing to worry about, but it’s important to get any unusual changes to the skin checked out as it could be a sign of something more serious. Our new remote skin assessment service allows fast access to medical support and treatment for a diagnosis, or offers peace of mind that the symptoms are not cancer.”
Bupa customers who are worried about a mole or skin lesion can call the Cancer Direct Access service to discuss their symptoms without the need for a GP referral. If the new remote skin assessment service is suitable, by the next working day customers will receive a kit which includes a smart phone and a dermatoscopic (magnifying) lens to take high-resolution photos of moles or lesions.
Once a customer uploads the photos to an app on the phone, a dermatologist will review them alongside their medical history. If there’s nothing to worry about, they will be sent a report and have peace of mind within 24 hours, which is much faster than the usual time to arrange a face-to-face appointment. If further investigation is needed, an advisor contacts the customer to discuss next steps. Bupa will then help arrange an onward referral to a specialist.
Alex Perry, CEO, Bupa UK Insurance said: “The biggest thing that makes the difference in cancer treatment is detecting and treating it early. Worryingly, at the height of the crisis fewer people were coming forward with signs and symptoms that might be cancer. Our remote skin assessment and Cancer Direct Access services help to remove any potential barriers, reducing the time between detection, diagnosis and treatment.”
The service is the latest addition to Bupa From Home, an enhanced package of remote health services that customers can access from home. Bupa recently rolled out a new rapid cardiac assessment service providing a fast route for diagnosing heart conditions. Customers can also get advice from nurses on everyday health concerns, treatment from GPs, physios, mental health therapists, and fast access to diagnosis and treatment for critical conditions such as mental health.
Neil Daly, CEO, Skin Analytics said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bupa UK Insurance to deliver a new innovative skin cancer pathway that leverages both clinically validated AI and consultant dermatologists to get Bupa members access to care faster. Building on the back of our landmark clinical paper in the esteemed journal JAMA, Bupa and Skin Analytics collaborated to rapidly design and launch this service for Bupa customers.”