More Moles, More Melanomas?

If you have a mole, do you have to worry about it turning into melanoma?

It’s a question a lot of us have on our minds, and that’s why a group of researchers carried out a study to help us find the answer. The result? It really varies from person to person.

A single study examined 832 high-risk patients and grouped them by the number of moles they had and their family history of melanoma. Their results showed that 54.2% of primary melanomas were connected to moles in patients at lower risk, and in patients with less than 100 moles. In addition, these melanomas occurred less frequently in patients who had either a personal or family history of previous melanomas. Interestingly, there was also a particularly high risk for the development of mole-associated melanomas in patients who had developed moles on their torso.

These results do make a lot of sense to me. If you do have a personal or family history of melanoma, you will know that melanomas arrive spontaneously, and that they don’t always arrive through the form of moles. Secondly, if you have more than 50 moles, you are automatically at higher risk for melanoma and should definitely get screened at least once a year.

It seems fair, then, to assume that a lot of moles does indicate a higher risk for melanoma, but it is harder to predict for patients with a family history due to the spontaneous nature of the cancer. Regardless of which group you fall into, you should always be wary of new moles appearing on your skin and consult your dermatologist if you have cause for concern.

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