We have noticed an increase in enquiries regarding moles and in particular, moles that have been present for a number of years and have not changed. We asked our dermatologist, Dr Christian Aldridge, for his advice.

This is not a new concept. As Dermatologists we have always known that about 70% of melanomas arise from normal looking skin, rather than from a mole. Confirmation of this clinical suspicion has recently been published in the Journal American Academy Dermatology.

The researchers looked at 38 studies involving over 20,000 melanomas. Interestingly, those melanomas that arose from a pre-existing mole were thinner than those arising de novo. This difference might be explained by the fact that patients with many moles are often screened more regularly by a dermatologist for signs of early (dysplastic) change in their moles.

The practical implication is that both patients and doctors should check ALL skin carefully, and any newly appearing lesion in adults that does not seem to heal or clear, should be regarded as suspicious.

The message is clear – carry out skin checks on a regular basis (irrespective of whether you have melanoma or not) and anything that is of concern, get it checked.

Melanoma UK’s dermatology advisor, Dr Christian Aldridge