Skin cancer and sun damage: moles on the body largely determined by genetics, our new research suggests

Source: The Conversation, October 2019

Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer – with 16,000 cases diagnosed and 2,400 deaths every year in the UK. Over the last decade, diagnoses have increased by almost half – with a more considerable rise in males (55%) than in females (35%). Yet, this is not the only difference between men and women when it comes to melanoma.

Men, it seems, are much more likely to develop melanoma on the head, neck and trunk, and women on the legs. Prognosis also seems to differ between the sexes, with female patients living for longer after diagnosis than males.

Research shows the total number of moles a person has on their body is a powerful predictor of their general melanoma risk. So the more moles you have, the higher your chance of developing melanoma.

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