ISLAMABAD: Scientists found that the count of moles on the right arm was most predictive of how many moles were on the entire body Photo: Alamy
People who have more than 11 moles on their right arm could have a higher risk of skin cancer, according to new research.
Experts claimed that the mole count on that particular part of the body was the best indicator of how many moles someone had altogether.
Those with more than seven moles on their right arm had nine times the risk of having more than 50 moles on the whole body while those with more than 11 on their right arm were more likely to have over 100 moles on their body.
The study, conducted by researchers from King's College London, concluded that counting moles in a "proxy" body area such as the arm is a good marker for spotting potential problems.
The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, examined data from 3,594 female twins.
Specially trained nurses from St Thomas' Hospital in London performed a mole count on 17 areas of each person's body. Skin type, hair and eye colour and freckles were also recorded for the research.
The results were checked against a further study involving men and women.
The experts found that the area above the right elbow was particularly predictive of the total body count of moles.
Specially trained nurses from St Thomas' Hospital in London performed a mole count on 17 areas of each person's body. Photo: Alamy
The legs were also strongly linked with the total count, while men's backs also highlighted an increased risk.
“This would mean that more patients at risk of melanoma can be identified and monitored."
People with white skin average about 30 moles, although some may have as many as 400.
The reason for these differences is unknown, as is the function of moles. Previous research has shown that up to 60 per cent of susceptibility to moles is inherited.
Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "This study suggests that the number of moles on our arms gives a good indication of how many moles we have on our bodies. This could be helpful because we know that people with lots of moles have a higher risk of melanoma.
"Other risk factors for melanoma include having red or fair hair, fair skin, light-coloured eyes or having been sunburnt in the past.
"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."
Malignant melanoma is now the fifth–most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.