"THE HEART OF THE MATTER"
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)


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Week: 587.1 

Guest: Dr. Margaret Tucker, National Institutes of Health 

Topic: Moles and Melanoma risk 

Host/Producer: Steve Girard  

NEMA: Moles and your risk of melanoma..coming up...  

SPOT: For 15 years, the National Emergency Medicine Association has worked against stroke, heart disease and trauma. Join the effort, call 800-332-6362. 

NEMA: A National Cancer Institute study has shown that the number of moles you have, regular... or large and unusual, has an impact on your risk of melanoma...doctors have been wondering about this for years...Dr. Margaret Tucker is the lead author of the report...  

TUCKER: What we found was that people who have an increased number of small ordinary moles are at about a two fold increased risk of melanoma. People who have an increased number of small and large ordinary moles, have about a four fold increase risk of melanoma. People who have one unusual mole have a two-fold increased risk of melanoma. And people who have a large number of these unsual moles have over a ten fold increased risk of developing melanoma.  

NEMA: Examination of your moles and freckles might become part of your routine doctors visits...according to Dr. Tucker...especially those with lots of large moles, and those with fair complexions. I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUCKER: These unusual moles that we’re talking about are usually larger than the eraser on a pencil, they have a flat component, they’re irregular in outline shape, they have indistinct borders where the color fades into the surrounding skin, and they usually have multiple colors, ranging from pink to tan to dark brown, all within the same mole.

 

TUCKER: One of the important findings from this study is that health care practitioners can now determine by looking at sombody’s skin whether they are at a very high risk of developing melanoma. And people who have a lot of ordinary moles probably don’t need this same type of intensive surveillance...as people who have a large number of these unusual moles. And because melanoma has been increasing so rapidly in the last few decades, it’s important to identify a subgroup of patients who would benefit from screening and surveillance so that we can find melanomas earlier when they are easily, surgically cureable...before they attain the ability to spread.