New Study Links Skin Cancers on Left Side to Driving

July 27, 2010

Nearly 53 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left side of the body, or the driver's side, according to a recent study from the St. Louis University Medical School.
Researchers believe the increase in left-sided skin cancers may be caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation while driving.

"People may be surprised to learn that car windows don't provide complete sun protection," said Perry Robins, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Ultraviolet radiation reaches us in the form of shortwave UVB and long-wave UVA rays, but glass blocks only UVB effectively."

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the following ways to protect your skin, particularly when spending extended time in the car:

* Treat your vehicle to window film: Transparent window film screens out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA without reducing visibility, and is available in all 50 states. If you have window film installed, remember that it protects you only when the windows are closed. When shopping for window film, be sure to check if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation.

* Keep sunscreen in the vehicle: For those without window film, sunscreen should be on hand for quick reapplication during long drives. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying every two hours. Look for one with an SPF of 15 or more and some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.

* Wear protective sunglasses: UV-blocking sunglasses are one of the strongest defenses against eye and eyelid damage. For proper protection, sunglasses should have the ability to absorb and block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. Wraparound styles with a comfortable, close fit and UV-protective side shields are ideal. The glasses should also meet ANSI or ISO standards for traffic signal recognition, which means that the lenses permit good color recognition.

More info: www.SkinCancer.org