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Moles Increase Melanoma Risk

Sep 04, 2014 09:43 AM EDT
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Volunteer lifesavers pose as a human billboard, forming the phrase "Melanoma Kills"

Volunteer lifesavers pose as a human billboard, forming the phrase "Melanoma Kills"
(Photo : REUTERS/Will Burgess)

Moles on body are an early warning sign of melanoma, researchers say.

According to scientists at the University of Melbourne, the University of Oxford and colleagues, moles on body can increase melanoma risk by four times.

Melanoma, according to PubMed Health, is the most deadly form of skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that about 76,690 cases of Melanoma will occur in the U.S this year.

Data for the study came from 271,656 people whose moles were recorded during hospital visits. The research also included information from 10,130,417 who did not have moles recorded.

The researchers found that people with recorded melanoma were roughly 4.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than people who did not have their moles recorded.

The frequency and site of moles was associated with melanoma risk. For example, people with moles on their trunk had higher risk of the deadly cancer than other people.

"We found that the increase was greater when the mole was at the same site as the melanoma - people with moles on their trunk were nine times more likely to develop melanoma on the trunk, and 5.6 times more likely to develop melanoma elsewhere on the body," said Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and Director of Dermatology at Epworth HealthCare.

"Our results show patients with a hospital diagnosis of moles, have a high risk of developing melanoma both around the site of the mole and elsewhere on the body. These people might, therefore, benefit from increased surveillance," said Professor Sinclair, according to a news release.

Moles pose no health risks, but experts warn that moles- especially those with uncommon structure or color- must be closely monitored. Previous research has associated moles with not just skin, but also with breast cancers. 

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