[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Evidence-Based Dermatology: Research Commentary
December 2000

Is the Self-counting of Moles a Valid Method of Assessing Melanoma Risk?

Author Affiliations

DamianoAbeniMD, MPHMichaelBigbyMDPaoloPasquiniMD, MPHMoysesSzkloMD, MPH, DrPHHywelWilliamsPhD, FRCP

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(12):1550-1551. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.12.1550

Agreement between self-assessment of melanocytic nevi by patients and dermatologic examination Buettner PG, Garbe C Am J Epidemiol. 2000;151:72-77

The objective was to determine whether people can identify themselves as being at risk for melanoma through the self-counting of moles. In this case-control study, the patient population consisted of 513 patients with melanoma diagnosed in 1991 who were recruited from 9 cooperating university dermatology departments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The controls were 498 patients without melanoma from the participating dermatology clinics. Subjects were provided with information about the self-assessment of benign melanocytic nevi using German colloquial terms for the description of common and atypical nevi. Examinations by dermatologists took place after the self-assessments and were used as the criterion standard. Patients and dermatologists were specifically asked to categorize the total number of melanocytic nevi on the whole body (0, 1-9, 10-19, 20-39, 40-59, 60-100, or >100). They were also asked to categorize the number of nevi on both arms (0, 1, 2-4, 5-10, or >10) and the number of atypical nevi larger than 5 mm on the whole body (0, 1, or >1). Agreement was assessed on categorized nevus counts by means of ordinal κ values and log-linear modeling.