By Alexandra Thompson

Deadly skin cancer starts as new spots on the skin, not moles, in more than two-thirds of cases, new research reveals.

In a recent study in 71 per cent of incidences, melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer, develops as marks on the skin, rather than arising from existing moles, reported the Daily Mail.

For unclear reasons, melanomas from existing moles generally have a better prognosis than those that appear as new spots, the research adds.


Yet, despite these findings, experts still recommend people check their moles regularly for any changes.

The below ABCDE guideline tells you what to look out for.

Some 71% of cases start as spots

Researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy analysed 38 melanoma studies.

Results reveal that less than a third of cases develop from existing moles.

Some 71 per cent appear as new spots on the skin.

For unclear reasons, melanomas that form from existing moles are generally thinner and offer patients a better prognosis.

Lead author Caterina Longo said: "These results could indicate that patients who monitor their existing moles for suspicious changes could detect melanoma in its early stages, when it's most treatable.

"Because the disease is more likely to appear as a new growth, however, it's important for everyone to familiarise themselves with all the moles on their skin and look for not only changes to those moles, but also any new spots that may appear,"The Sun reported.


As easy as ABCDE

Despite the study's findings, experts still recommend people check their moles regularly to help spot early signs of skin cancer.

The more moles someone has, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.

The following ABCDE guidance can help people identify moles that might need looking over by a doctor.


Photo / AXA PPP
Photo / AXA PPP

Look out for moles with an irregular shape.


Photo / AXA PPP
Photo / AXA PPP

Check for jagged edges.

Colour change

Photo / AXA PPP
Photo / AXA PPP

If a mole changes in colour or is a different colour in one part than in another, seek medical advice.


Photo / AXA PPP
Photo / AXA PPP

Any increase in size should be checked, but be particularly cautious of moles that grow more than about 6mm across.


Photo / AXA PPP
Photo / AXA PPP

In this graphic, the E section is classed as "elevation"; warning you to watch out for the mole raising from the surface, particularly if it is irregularly raised.

Yet, Dr David Fisher, director of the Melanoma Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains many dermatologists have different classifications for this.

His preferred word is "evolving".

Dr Fisher told MailOnline: "Is it changing? Do you notice anything suspicious or concerning? That is key.

"You need to have a very low threshold for what counts as 'concerning'. I have yet to find a patient who is mad because it wasn't melanoma. It's always worth checking."