Most Melanomas Arise From New Moles.
It's important to regularly examine your skin for suspicious moles or lesions, particularly if you have a history of sunburn and/or are fair-skinned. However, recent research (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Aug. 29) indicates that you also should check for new growths in order to detect melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which is on the rise in the U.S. After reviewing 38 studies comprising 20,126 melanomas, researchers found that only 29 percent of melanomas arose from an existing mole, while 71 percent appeared on the skin as new spots. The researchers say it's important to keep monitoring existing moles for suspicious changes (such as bleeding, or a rapid increase in size) to increase your chances of detecting melanoma in its early stages, when it's most treatable. But it's also vital to familiarize yourself with all of the moles on your skin so you'll be more likely to notice any new spots.