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    Low mole count may predict melanoma risk

    Atypically pigmented lesion on lateral right foot of a patient with few nevi with 10x dermoscopic magnification revealing atypical patterns including blue-white veil, milky-red area, and irregular globules. Histopathology revealed a 3.3 mm/Clark IV melanoma. 

    Caroline C. Kim, M.D.A recent study of melanoma patients found that individuals with fewer than 50 nevi tended to develop more aggressive melanoma compared to those patients with more than 50 nevi.

    The eye-opening results not only highlight the necessity of regularly performed skin cancer screenings but also the need for appropriate skin cancer education in patients with nevi, regardless of the nevus count.

    High nevus count (HNC), defined as more than 50 nevi, is a well-known and clinically useful risk factor for melanoma, as patients can be readily identified and referred for screening. However, melanomas can also occur in patients with low nevus count (LNC), defined as less than 50 nevi, and these patients at risk may not be as easily identified.

    ALSO READ: Homing in on targeted gene therapy for congenital melanocytic nevi

    Although individuals with more than 50 nevi can have an increased risk of developing melanoma, those with fewer nevi must still be vigilant, as having fewer nevi does not negate their risk for developing this deadly disease.

    Consider all patients for screening

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    “All patients, regardless if they have more or fewer nevi, really need to know more about melanoma and get educated in this regard, and need to be considered for screening,” says Caroline C. Kim, M.D., Director, Pigmented Lesion Clinic, Associate Director, Cutaneous Oncology Program, department of dermatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., and co-author of the study.

    NEXT: Finding the  pattern

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