Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 20th 2015 Contents A26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, October 20, 2015
More than 100 moles on your body, indicates five times the
normal risk for skin cancer.
Having more than 11 moles on one arm indicates
a higher-than-average risk of skin cancer or
melanoma, research suggests.
Counting moles on the right arm was found to be
a good indicator of total moles on the body. More
than 100 indicates five times the normal risk.
The study, published in the British Journal of Der-
matology, used data from 3,000 twins in the UK.
GPs could use the findings to identify those most
at risk, it said.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer affecting more
than 13,000 people in the UK each year.
It develops from abnormal moles, so the risk of
being diagnosed with a melanoma is linked to the
number of moles a patient has.
Researchers from King s College London studied a
large group of female twins over a period of eight
years, collecting information on skin type, freckles
and moles on their bodies.
After repeating the exercise on a smaller group of
around 400 men and women with melanoma, they
came up with a quick and easy way to assess the risk
of skin cancer.
Females with more than seven moles on their right
arm had nine times the risk of having more than 50
on their whole body.
Those with more than 11 on their right arm were
more likely to have more than 100 on their body in
total, meaning they were at a higher risk of developing
The findings could help GPs to identify those with
an increased risk of developing a melanoma.
Lead author Simone Ribero, of the department of
twin research and genetic epidemiology at King s,
said: "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."
Consultant dermatologist and study co-author
Veronique Bataille said if a patient was worried about
an abnormal mole and went to see their GP, counting
moles on one arm "might ring alarm bells" and high-
light those patients who should be seen by a specialist
Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at
Cancer Research UK, said the study findings were
helpful, but added that fewer than half of melanomas
develop from existing moles.
"It s important to know what s normal for your
skin and to tell your doctor about any change in the
size, shape, colour or feel of a mole or a normal patch
of skin," she said.
"And don t just look at your arms---melanoma can
develop anywhere on the body, and is most common
on the trunk in men and the legs in women."
Arm mole count 'predicts skin cancer risk'
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
• Freckles are small usually pale brown
areas of skin, which are often tempo-
rary and are usually linked to sun expo-
•Moles are small coloured spots on the
skin made up of cells called
melanocytes, which produce the colour
(pigment) in your skin. They are long-
lasting and are not directly linked to
sun exposure, but excess sun exposure
will increase your risk of skin cancer
and can make a mole turn malignant
• Moles can be flat, raised, smooth or
rough and may have hair growing from
• They are usually brownish in colour
and are circular or oval with a smooth
• Most moles are completely harmless
• If you notice any changes to your
moles or are worried about them, see
• Things to look for: Uneven colouring,
uneven or ragged edges, bleeding, itch-
---Source: NHS Choices
What sun protection factor should I use?
The higher the sun protection factor (SPF), the more
protection you get. Use sunscreen with a SPF of at least
15. Use broad-spectrum sunscreens, which protect
against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
How long can I stay in the sun?
No longer than you would without sunscreen. Sun-
screen should not be used as an excuse to stay out in the
sun ---it offers protection when exposure is unavoidable.
The summer sun is most damaging to your skin in the
middle of the day.
What should I do if I get sunburn?
Paracetamol or ibuprofen will ease the pain by helping
to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn. Sponge sore
skin with cool water, then apply after sun or calamine lo-
tion. If you feel unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters,
seek medical help. Stay out of the sun until all signs of
redness have gone.
Should I cover up my mole when I'm in the sun?
If you have lots of moles or freckles, you're more likely
to develop skin cancer, so you need to take extra care.
Avoid getting caught out by sunburn. Use shade, clothing
and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Keep an eye out
for changes to your skin and report these to your doctor
Moles, freckles and melanoma
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