Most doctors will know that a good predictor of the risk of skin cancer is the number of moles that the patient has all over their body, but many find that it is incredibly time consuming to ask patients to strip to their underwear to count all the moles across an entire body. Well, scientists have discovered that there is a much shorter route and one we can even do ourselves at home, the number of moles on your arm.
Looking at the numbers
The study that was carried out by King College London and published in the British Journal of Dermatology looked 3,000 female twins across the UK over a period of 8 years. They recorded the number of freckles and moles on their skin and the type of skin and hair they had.
This was followed up by a smaller study of 400 men and women who already had melanoma, to cross check the results.
The risk of moles on your arms
They discovered that women who have more than seven moles on their right arm had a nine times higher risk of having more than 50 on their entire body and those with more than 11 on their arm were likely to have around 100 across their entire body ( a huge predictor for melanoma risk).
The right arm was found to be the best predictor of the overall number on the body with the area above the right elbow most strongly linked.
However in women the legs were a good predictor and for men, the backs.
Read more: About Melanoma
What do the numbers mean?
Melanomas are known to occur most frequently in moles that already exist on the body – which why it is so important to check your moles of your arms for any changes that are associated with skin cancer.
So, the more moles you have the higher the chance one will develop into skin cancer. It is much less common for a melanoma to grow where there was no mole already, although this does happen.
View examples of melanoma pictures
How to be aware of moles on your arm?
Well the simple answer is to get counting. If you have more than 7 moles on your right arm you should recognise that you may have an increased risk of melanomas developing anywhere on your body.
If the count is higher – you need to keep a special watch on your moles as you will have many more and a higher risk.
It is important to also keep an eye out for any melanoma skin cancer signs of change such as itching, pain, asymmetrical moles, colour changes and bleeding or oozing.
Our app is the perfect way to keep track of developing moles and ensure that any changes are brought to the attention of your doctor as soon as possible. With the app you will be able to easily check all the moles on your arms.