Talking Points

Talking Points

Mole count estimates risk of melanoma

November 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

More than 11 moles on arm the left arm signifies an increased risk of melanoma


Among the best recognised risk factors for melanoma is the total number of moles on a person’s skin. Individuals with more than 50 moles, and more so those with more than 100 moles,/ have an increased incidence of melanoma.


It is a difficult and laborious task to count the number of moles on someone’s skin. But if it were possible to count the number of moles on a small area of skin, and use that to estimate the total number of moles on all areas of skin, it would make the task very much easier.


Researchers from London have effectively done this with their calculation of melanoma risk from the number of moles on a person’s arm. It is estimated that people with a mole count of more than11on their left arm are likely to have a total mole count of over 100. This implies that they have a significantly increased risk of melanoma compared with those who have fewer moles.


How does this help in in caring for people with multiple moles? Although this finding cannot help predict an individual who will develop melanoma, it does provide an easy way to identify a group of people who are at higher risk of being diagnosed with melanoma. Perhaps this group should be informed of their risk and counselled about sun protection measures.


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I had just been told after attending the Mole Clinic at my local pharmacy that I could potentially have a melanoma on my right leg. Obviously I was very worried and upset by this and when I met Dr. Herd he did his best to try and reassure me. The mole was removed and after a few anxious weeks my results came back fine. I have since seen Dr. Herd on a regular basis over the years for annual skin check ups and I find that his calming and friendly manner gives me peace of mind.