Even Having Normal Moles Quadruples Your Risk of Melanoma

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Atypical (Dysplastic) Nevi (courtesy of WebMD)

A recent study in Great Britain compared approximately 300,000 individuals with normal moles to 10 million individuals with no moles and followed them from 1999 -2011.  Researchers found that the mole group developed 4.67 times more melanoma.  These melanomas were found both at the site of pre-existing moles and elsewhere on the body.

Dermatologists already know individuals with atypical moles (also referred to as dysplastic nevi) have an up to 27 times higher likelihood of developing melanoma than the general public. The British study is noteworthy as it demonstrates that even individuals with normal moles have a higher risk of melanoma.
A few other relevant facts discussed in the study include:
  • Approximately 50% of melanomas develop in pre-existing moles (thus even a mole you have had your entire life can change and become melanoma)
  • The greater that number of moles, the higher risk an individual has of developing melanoma
Thus, Minnesota dermatologist Dr. Tareen and her Roseville dermatology colleagues recommend daily sun protection, monthly self-skin checks, and yearly professional full body exams. Also remember, if a mole changes, it is time to call your doctor– melanoma is one cancer that is preventable!
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