moles on your arm could predict your risk of melanoma

A study has validated the arm as a representative site for total body count of moles, allowing for quick assessment of a patients’ risk of melanoma in primary practice.


One of the most important risk factors for melanoma is total body mole (naevi) count. A recent study has investigated use of smaller sections of the body as a representative site of total body count. This smaller section makes it easier and more accessible to identify high risk patients in a primary health care setting.

After analyzing 3 694 female twins, the researchers found that the greatest predictive value for total body mole count came from the arms and legs. The arm was chosen for subsequent analysis due to the increased accessibility, potentially making it easier to assess in the primary care setting. The researchers found that women with a mole count of more than 11 on their right arm were more likely to have a total body mole count of more than 100. A total body count of more than 100 moles is a strong predictor of risk for melanoma.

This study validates the use of a small, accessible section of the body as a marker of melanoma risk, making it easier for physicians to identify high-risk patients that require further monitoring.


Ribero, D. Zugna, S. Osella-Abate, D. Glass, P. Nathan, T. Spector, V. Bataille. Prediction of high naevus count in a healthy UK population to estimate melanoma risk. British Journal of Dermatology, 2015.






Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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