How to Predict Your Risk of Skin CancerIf you have 11 or more moles on your right arm, it could indicate a higher risk of developing melanoma, the most serious and sometimes deadly form of skin cancer, according to British researchers from King's College London. This is a quick way for both patients and physicians to more easily identify those who are at the highest risk of melanoma. Detecting the disease early allows for the greatest chance of recovery.
"The findings could have a significant impact for primary care, allowing [primary care doctors] to more accurately estimate the total number of moles in a patient extremely quickly via an easily accessible body part. This would mean that more patients at risk of melanoma can be identified and monitored," study lead author Simone Ribero, of the department of twin research and genetic epidemiology, said in a college news release.
Between 20 percent and 40 percent of melanomas develop from pre-existing moles. The risk is thought to increase slightly with each additional mole on the body, but a total body count can be time-consuming in a doctor's office.
The study: The team analyzed data from nearly 3,700 white twins in the United Kingdom, all of whom underwent a mole count on 17 body areas.
Changes in the size, shape or color of a mole may be a warning sign of melanoma.
An important note: The study only found an association between the presence of moles and melanoma risk and did not prove cause and effect.
The study findings were published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
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