Melanoma survivor, Leah Smith, generously shared her Firstcheck experience with the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly – explaining how “A phone app saved my life”. Here’s an excerpt from the article which tells Leah’s story:  


A phone app saved my life

“When a large mole on Leah Smith’s back started to grow bigger and darken, the Wellington mum-of-two thought about going to the doctor – but her hectic life got in the way. “I thought, ‘That’s probably not that great,’ but I was so busy with kids I put it out of my mind and told myself I didn’t need to worry about it,” she recalls. She remembers [her partner] Aaron being aghast when she pointed it out. “He was really shocked and really angry with me that I hadn’t done anything about it sooner.” It didn’t take long for him to find smartphone app Firstcheck, a new virtual health initiative giving people low-cost consultations with skin cancer specialists. Within minutes he had downloaded it to his cellphone, taken a photo of the troubling mole, filled out a form detailing the growth’s history and paid the one-off $19.95 for it to be seen by top skin doctors. A few days later, the specialists replied with the grim warning – the mole needed to be looked at straight away. The mole was removed, and a week later laboratory tests came back confirming the growth was deadly melanoma.

“I was extremely lucky – it was caught in the nick of time,” says a grateful Leah. “I dodged a bullet there!”

Not surprisingly, she credits the smartphone tool for saving her life.

“If that app hadn’t have been there and if it wasn’t so easy to use, it would have been left up to me to go to my GP and make an appointment. By that stage everything would have taken a lot longer and the result could have been so much worse.”

“Aaron sent a letter to Firstcheck telling them that if it wasn’t for their app I could well have been in a far worse situation and his kids might not have their mother.”

Excerpt from New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, March 26th 2018. You can read the full story over in the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly here: 

  Leah says she hopes her story will inspire others to check their own skin, and if they notice something new or changing to get it checked out! Melanoma survivor tells New Zealand Woman's Weekly, Firstcheck saved my life