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70% of melanomas are new moles

A recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology (A meta-analysis of nevus-associated melanoma: Prevalence and practical implications. Pampena R1, Kyrgidis A1, Lallas A2, Moscarella E1, Argenziano G3, Longo C4) showed that only 29.1% of more than 20,000 melanomas studied were associated with an existing mole with the remaining 70.9% melanomas arising de novo, that is from a new mole.

With 70% of melanomas arising as a new mole, maybe we need to emphasise the importance of checking for new moles when educating the public in self examination as these moles may be missed using past algorithms. The common algorithm used for detecting melanoma is the ABCD,E/F/G.

A=Asymmetry in colour. One side of the mole looks different to the other

B= Border. A border that is irregular or poorly defined

C=Colour. Look for a mole that is changing colour or has more than one colour

D=Diameter. A mole that measures greater than 6mm in diameter

E/F/G=Evolving, Firm and Growing. A raised lesion that is firm and growing. Nodular melanomas may be one colour and symmetrical

A new, growing melanoma may look symmetrical, have regular borders, be one colour and measure less than 6mm when detected early. It will continue to evolve and grow. As it becomes larger it will then exhibit more of the clues listed in ABCD.

So, when reminding patients to check their own skin between their regular skin examinations, we try to emphasise that most melanomas appear as new moles, not in existing moles. Our doctors would suggest mole mapping with total body photography to high risk individuals, as this is the most efficient method to detecting new melanomas. Patients are also encouraged to take photos of their own skin to monitor for new and changing moles.

Mole mapping, with Total Body Photography, is performed at both of our clinics in Frankston and Mornington. A referral is not required.

Mole mapping is charged at an hourly rate of $170 / hour with the majority of patients requiring only a one hour appointment.

For more information on Mole Mapping click here.

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