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Smartphones may one day tell you if you have pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest form of cancer largely because it is difficult to detect early. But a new app, Biliscreen — developed by researchers at the University of Washington — could one day help users self-diagnose cancer by measuring levels of bilirubin, a compound in the whites of their eyes.

Yellowing eyes are caused by high levels of bilirubin which is a sign of jaundice and symptom of pancreatic cancer. Using a picture of the user’s eyes, the app gauges how much bilirubin is present in the eye.

The app isn’t available to the public yet but the next study will involve more people with varying levels of bilirubin to improve BiliScreen’s algorithm.