Despite years of health promotion campaigns advising us about the dangers of skin cancer, the incidence of the most dangerous type - melanoma - has been steadily rising since the 1970s with around 130,000 cases now diagnosed globally each year according to the World Health Organization. Even if we no longer spend hours sunning ourselves on the beach, extended time outdoors playing sport or socializing can still put us at risk of this deadly cancer. Developed by molecular diagnostics company Health Discovery Corporation (HDC), MelApp is an iPhone app designed help detect melanoma at an early - and likely curable - stage using mathematical algorithms and image based pattern recognition technology.

To use the app, you take a photo of an unusual mole or freckle with your iPhone's camera using the zoom feature to ensure it fills the green box on the screen. The photo is then uploaded and evaluated against a database licensed from Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.

If the risk is significant MelApp recommends you seek medical advice and can refer you to a nearby specialist for proper follow up.

It can also store images in albums so you can track changes in your freckles and moles over time. Sliding indicators are used to note information such as size, color and how fast it has developed.

MelApp is available from the iTunes store and costs $1.99 - which seems like a small investment in your health. An Android version is on the way.