arm moles

Moles On Arm Indicate Melanoma Risk

New findings by a group of Italian and UK researchers suggest that a person’s risk of developing melanoma can be quickly and simply assessed by counting the number of moles on one arm.

The study looked at over 3,500 female twins and found that ‘total body nevus count’ (known as TBNC) is significantly predicted by the number of nevi on the arm.

Lead researcher Simone Ribero, MD, PhD, Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, United Kingdom, explained:

“It’s important because the number of moles on the body is strictly related to the risk of melanoma, and if you have more than 100 moles on your body, the risk increases by some five to six times in the white population.”

Data showed that having more than 11 arm moles is associated with a significant risk of having more than 100 on the body, which is in itself known to be associated with a higher risk of melanoma.

The study was replicated in a control population of female and males, which showed that the arm was also the most predictive site for total body nevus counts.

The team recommended that:

“this fast clinical evaluation should be used for a quick estimation of melanoma risk in general practices.”

Dr Ribero continues:

“The risk of developing melanoma is not only in the arm, so we can’t just look at one arm of the patient and predict perfectly the risk of melanoma, but this could be a tool to understand the general number of moles, and in this way we have a very quick way of understanding the risk of developing melanoma.”

The research was published October 19 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

This research could give clinicians a faster and more efficient means of identifying those most at risk.

It is also a simple and quick method for patients to become more aware of their own mole count and therefore risk of melanoma. There are other known risk factors associated with melanoma, but total body nevi count is the strongest.

Dr Ribero commented:

“People that are very moley know that they are at risk of melanoma, of course, but no one knows what is the limit of what is ‘moley’ or ‘not moley,’ so we just want to help general physicians and practitioners [in deciding] when to screen for melanoma.”


Mole removal is offered by Cosmedics Skin Clinics’ doctors using a local anaesthetic and surgical techniques. Smaller moles tend to be removed using laser to leave minimum scarring.

All moles are sent away for testing as a precaution.

More information about moles is available on this website.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.