Here in Australia, melanoma is the most common cancer among people between the age of 15 to 44 — and two in every three Australians will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer by the time they’re 70.
Despite its frequency, there remain a number of widely-held misconceptions about how skin cancer occurs and who is susceptible. We figure that anyone with fairer skin, or who has numerous visible moles on their body, would automatically be more at risk than other kinds of complexions.
Harvard researchers examined 566 patients with melanoma — the most deadly form of skin cancer — to explore whether there was a relationship between the number of nevi, i.e. moles, on their body and the thickness of tumours.
Interestingly, they found the majority of these melanoma patients weren’t particularly “mole-y.”
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Of the participants, 66 per cent had between zero and 20 moles, around 20 per cent had 20-50 moles, and 13 per cent had more than 50 of them.