You Can Assess Your Cancer Risk by Counting the Moles on Your Right Arm

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

We’ve long known about the link between moles and skin cancer, but new research suggests we can figure out how susceptible we are to melanoma just by looking at our bodies. Researchers from King’s College London have figured out that people with more than 11 moles on their right arm have an elevated risk of developing skin cancer, as it means they're likely to have over 100 moles on their body. This is considered to be a ‘strong predictor’ of a higher risk of melanoma.

While frightening, the find could make it easier for GPs to detect and diagnose skin cancer, which would lead to earlier, and potentially more effective, treatment. The area above the right elbow (where I have a smattering of dots) was found to be an especially important area to check out, though backs (men only) and legs are also said to be strong indicators. 

"This study suggests that the number of moles on our arms gives a good indication of how many moles we have on our bodies," said Dr Claire Knight of Cancer Research UK. "This could be helpful because we know that people with lots of moles have a higher risk of melanoma. But less than half of melanomas develop from existing moles. So 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. 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."

Image credit: Jessica Keyes via Flickr