Melanoma risk might be predicted by number of moles on right arm

Melanoma

Looking to get an accurate prediction of your risk for melanoma? A recent study found that predicting skin cancer risk might be as easy as counting the moles on your arm—your right arm, to be precise.

Identifying and counting every mole on the entire body can be a timely process for most doctors. But doing so is considered an important part of skin cancer prevention. According to researchers from King’s College London, mole count is a key marker for skin cancer risk. They say it’s believed that each additional mole on the body ups the risk by as much as 2 to 4 percent.

To make the process more efficient and less time intensive, researchers sought to find the most accurate proxy site for predicting full-body mole count. It turns out that the right arm is pretty accurate.

More specifically, they found that women with over seven moles on the right arm were also nine times more likely to have over 50 on the entire body. The link didn’t stop there. Women with more than 11 right-arm moles were also more likely to have more than 100 body-wide moles.

In other words, these women were at an elevated risk for melanoma.

Researchers add that the portion of skin above the elbow was found to be especially accurate at determining the total number of moles across the body.

“The findings could have a significant impact for primary care, allowing GPs to more accurately estimate the total number of moles in a patient extremely quickly via an easily accessible body part,” lead author Simone Ribero, of KCL’s Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, said in a press release. “This would mean that more patients at risk of melanoma can be identified and monitored.”

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