A study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology has shown that most melanoma patients have fewer than 20 moles and most had no ‘irregular’ moles.
Previous studies have indicated that a higher number of moles is associated with a higher risk of melanoma; yet this study shows that 2 out of 3 melanoma patients had under 20 moles on their body.
In addition, very few melanoma patients were found to have moles which would be deemed as ‘dangerous’ and 3 out of 4 had no ‘irregular’ moles.
Irregular moles is seen as another key warning sign; but this new study shows that doctors cannot rely only on the number or shape of moles in order to identify risk of melanoma.
Dr Alan Geller, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained:
“Physicians and patients should not rely on the total nevus (mole) count as a sole reason to perform skin examinations or to determine a patient’s at-risk status”
Less than half of melanomas develop from existing moles. Melanoma accounts for just 1% of all skin cancers but is the most deadly form. In the UK, it causes over 2,000 deaths a year.
While the study suggests that doctors should not rely on mole count, it is vital that people check their skin regularly for signs of the disease. Melanoma is most common on the back, arms, legs or face but can even appear under a nail, so a thorough check is required. Look for a spot or mole which is ‘unusual’ in its appearance or behaviour – getting bigger, changing shape, uneven, crusty or bleeding, itchy or painful.
Any doubts or concerns should be raised with a doctor as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and referral if necessary. Treatment including mole removal should be arranged quickly if there is a concern.
Fortunately, most moles turn out to be harmless. For these, removal on the NHS is rarely offered; but patients can choose to have private mole removal to put their mind at rest.
Mole Removal Surgery
Doctors at Mole Clinics offer mole removal treatment using laser mole removal techniques as well as excision surgery for larger lesions with no waiting lists. At Mole Clinics, all removed moles are sent away for testing and a report given for peace of mind.
Private Mole Removal
Cosmedics Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer private mole removal at a selection of clinics based in London and Bristol. Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with trained doctors and surgeons.
For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.