Why Having More Moles Means A Higher Melanoma Risk

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Skin cancer experts believe that an undetermined combination of sun exposure and genes, such as those linked to fair skin, creates the greatest increase in melanoma risk. In their efforts to better understand this mysterious equation, researchers recently sought a link between multiple moles and the deadliest form of skin cancer.

“We had known for some time that people with many moles are at increased risk of melanoma,” said Tim Bishop, a professor from the Melanoma Genetics Consortium at the University of Leeds in the UK. “In this study, we found a clear link between some genes on chromosomes 9 and 22 and increased risk of melanoma.”

These findings were compared to research from King’s College, where it was determined that these genes aren’t related to skin color; instead, they influence the number of moles a person has. Therefore, a clear link can be seen between melanoma risk and mole abundance.

Cancer Research UK has long advised that people with many moles should take extra care in the sun, and its director of health information, Sara Hiom, is encouraged by research like this that identifies a clear genetic justification for this recommendation.

“The more we can understand malignant melanoma through research like this,” she said, “the closer we should get to controlling what is an often fatal cancer.”

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