Skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the United States. The appearance of a new mole or changes in an existing one are the most common signs of the disease. A new study has revealed that counting the number of moles on a person's right arm could indicate vulnerability to skin cancer, with 11 or more moles being a 'strong predictor' of melanoma.
The study findings suggested that the greater the total number of moles on the body, the higher the risk from melanoma, or skin cancer. Scientists at King's College London said, "The findings could help doctors more easily identify patients at risk, by using the arm as a 'proxy' area."
For the research, researchers studied 3,594 female Caucasian twins, using data collected over an eight-year period, with each person undergoing a mole count on 17 body areas. This exercise was then repeated on a group of around 400 men and women with melanoma.
The researchers said, "Women with more than 11 moles on their right arm were more likely to have over 100 moles on their body in total, which was a 'strong predictor' of melanoma."
Lead author Simone Ribero, of the department of twin research and genetic epidemiology at King's College, said, "The findings could have a 'significant impact', allowing 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."
The study is published in the British Journal of Dermatology.