Posted on

More Than 11 Moles On The Arm Could Predict Future Cancer Risk

Having more than 11 moles on your right arm could raise the risk of getting skin cancer in the future, research has suggested. Researchers said they have found a new way for GP’s to quickly assess whether somebody may be at risk of developing melanoma by counting moles on a “proxy” body area such as the arm or the leg, according to experts from King’s College London.

Around 20% to 40% of melanoma is thought to arise from pre-existing moles. Having more than 100 moles on the body is a “strong predictor” of developing melanoma. The study, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust, examined data from 3,594 female twins. Specially trained nurses from St Thomas’ hospital in London performed a mole count on 17 areas on each person’s body. Skin type, hair and eye colour and freckles were also recorded in the research.

mole-820x550

The results were checked against a further study involving men and women. Scientists found that the count of moles on the right arm was most predictive of how many moles were on the entire body. Those people with more than seven moles on their right arm had nine times the risk of having over 50 on the whole body, while those with more than 11 were more likely to have more than 100.

The experts found that the area above the right elbow was particularly predictive of the total body count of moles. The legs were also strongly linked with the total count, while men’s backs also highlighted as an increased risk. The researchers concluded: “We demonstrated that arm mole count of more than 11 is associated with a significant risk of having more than 100 moles, that is in itself a strong predictor of risk for melanoma.”

Lead author Simone Ribero, of the department of twin research and genetic epidemiology at King’s, said: “The findings could have a significant impact for primary care, allowing GPs to more accurately estimate the total number of moles in a patient extremely quickly via an easily accessible body part. This would mean that more patients at risk of melanoma can be identified and monitored.”

Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said the finding could be useful because lots of moles makes it a higher risk for melanoma in the future. Other risk factors for melanoma include having red or fair hair, fair skin, light-coloured eyes or having been sunburnt in the past. “But less than half of melanomas develop from existing moles. So it’s important to know what’s normal for your skin and to tell your doctor about any change in the size, shape, colour or feel of a mole or a normal patch of skin. And don’t just look at your arms – melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, and is most common on the trunk in men and the legs in women.”

Posted on

Could The Cure For Cancer Have Been Found By Accident?

There are some accidents you can forgive. Like possibly discovering the cure for cancer. According to a recent study, a group of Danish scientists might have done just that by discovering that a potential malaria vaccine had the unexpected side effect of destroying and killing tumours.

Malaria is a blood borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. It is spread through humans by the bites of mosquitos and, according to UNICEF, kills over a million people around the world every year. Malaria is especially dangerous for pregnant women as the parasite may attack the placenta, which puts the child’s life at risk. In their ongoing efforts to prevent these specific infections, scientists from the University of Denmark made a remarkable observation: Due to the similar characteristics between tumours and placentas, the same technique malaria uses to attack and destroy placentas, it could also be used to destroy cancer tumours.

1024px-Anopheles_albimanus_mosquito

“The placenta is an organ, which within a few months grows from only few cells into an organ weighing approximately 2 pounds, and it provides the embryo with oxygen and nourishment in a relatively foreign environment,” study author Ali Salanti said in a statement. “In a manner of speaking, tumours do much the same — they grow aggressively in a relatively foreign environment.”

The researchers attempted to improve on this natural design by attaching a cancer-killing toxin to the malaria protein. They found that the combination was highly lethal; in lab tests, it was up to 90 percent effective in destroying various cancer cells. The lethal combination was also tested successfully in mice that were implanted with different types of human cancers. And while it may seem jarring to trade off cancer for malaria, Thomas Mandel Clausen, a PhD student involved with the research, explained that the malaria protein only attaches on to the tumour “without any significant attachment to other tissue.”
It will be at least four years before the treatment will be available to test on humans, and researchers are hopeful it’ll be a significant step forward in cancer treatment research. However, since the protein they use attaches to carbohydrates found only in the placenta and cancer tumours, this life-saving characteristic will make the treatment too dangerous for cancer treatment in pregnant women. “Expressed in popular terms, the toxin will believe that the placenta is a tumour and kill it, in exactly the same way it will believe that a tumour is a placenta,” Salanti said.
Posted on

Being Taller Raises Your Risk Of Cancer

A recent study from Sweden has suggested that height and cancer risk are linked. The study was taken part by 5 million people to see if there was a link.

The study found that taller people had a slightly higher risk of skin cancer, breast cancer, among other cancers. The results of the study found that for every extra 4 inches of height, when fully grown, the risk of developing cancer increased by 11% in men and 18% in women.

However experts have said it did not take into account the other main risk factors that can cause cancer and that tall people should not worry about this recent study.

Two business people standing side by side

This is not the first study to link height and the risk of cancer as previous studes have shown the link. It is still not known why there is a link between the risk of cancer and height.

The study, which was presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology conference, tracked a large group of Swedish adult for more than 50 years.

They said that taller women had a 20% greater risk of developing breast cancer while tallker men and women increased their risk of melanoma (skin cancer) by 30%.

Dr Emelie Benyi, who led the study, said the results could help to identify risk factors that could lead to development of treatments.

But she added: “As the cause of cancer is multi-factorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level.”

It is clear from the study that height is not a cause of cancer, it is thought to be a marker for other factors that relate to childhood growth.

According to scientists and doctors taller people have more growth factors which could encourage cancer development. The taller the person the more cells the person has which increases one of them turning into a cancerous cell. As well when growing there is a higher food intake which also raises the risk of cancer developing.

Althought the study suggests height raises the risk of cancer it doesn’t take into account other factors such as smoking, drinking or whether women went for breast screening. Keep a healthy lifestyle including eating healthily, being active and enjoying the sun safely. It can all help lower the risk of developing cancer.