Do you have concerns about melanoma skin cancer and the moles on your body? British researchers say having 11 moles or more on your right arm can indicate a higher risk for the development of melanoma skin cancer. Results from a recent King's College study in London and published in the British Journal of Dermatology could help doctors more easily figure out which patients are at highest risk for melanoma skin cancer. These findings could very well have a significant impact to enable doctors to more efficiently estimate the total number of moles on a patient more quickly by using an easily accessible body part. Patients may also be able to figure out that they are at increased risk for melanoma by just looking at their own arms.

This could help patients at risk for melanoma be identified and monitored more effectively.  Between 20% and 40% of melanomas may start in pre-existing moles, according to the researchers. The risk for melanoma is believed to increase slightly with each additional mole on the body, but a total body count can be time-consuming for a doctor in a busy office. In this report, data was analyzed from nearly 3,700 white twins in the U.K. who underwent a mole count on 17 body areas. The researchers found that the mole count on the right arm was the most predictive of the total number of moles on an entire person's body.  The area above the right elbow was found to be very predictive of the total number of moles on a person's body. The number of moles found on a person's legs was also strongly associated with total mole count.

This study is helpful for patients to understand if they are at increased risk for melanoma skin cancer. Some freckle-like lesions may actually be moles. So, when looking at your own arms, any brown spot or flesh colored bump may be a mole. The dermatologists at Buckeye Dermatology are very skilled at being able to tell which spots may be moles, but sometimes the ability to tell if a lesion is a mole or something else, including skin cancer, can only be done with a skin biopsy. When in doubt, let the dermatologists at Buckeye Dermatology examine your moles. Better to be safe than sorry! And remember, people with few or no moles on their arms can still get melanoma skin cancer!

For more information, See Dr. Hessel's video interview on Skin Cancer Information for Columbus and Central Ohio as well as his video interview about Mole and Melanoma Information for our area.