Drivers' Skin Cancer Risk
You might think there's no reason to worry about the sun's harmful rays when you are driving. But you'd be wrong, as a recent study from Saint Louis University made clear. Researchers there evaluated data from 1,047 people with skin cancer and discovered that 53% of them had skin cancers on the left side of the body. When researchers looked only at cancers that were on the arms, hands, head and neck, they found more cancers on the left side (the side that is exposed while driving), especially in men. Researchers speculate that people who drive frequently may be more apt to have left-side cancers.
GLASS NOT A BARRIER FOR SKIN CANCER
I spoke with Ellen Marmur, MD, chief of the division of dermatologic surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City to learn more about this surprising finding. She explained that for a long time, people assumed that the glass in cars blocked all UV rays, but now we know that while glass blocks most of UVB rays, it only filters less than half of UVA rays, leaving people vulnerable to damage from the sun. Until recently, it was believed that UVB rays were the main cause of skin cancer -- but recent research proved that to be wrong as well, with UVA rays equally potent and dangerous, says Dr. Marmur.
All windshield glass is laminated to protect shattering. As a result, it blocks more UVA rays than the glass in side windows, but still allows 20% of rays through. That plus the rays from the side windows ends up being a considerable amount of exposure. Convertible drivers -- even those whose top-down days were years ago -- have yet another skin cancer concern, says Dr. Marmur, which is skin cancer on the scalp. Hair offers some protection, but not much.
Tinted windows, popular in some areas of the country, have more protection than clear ones, says Dr. Marmur, but even better protection is available from special films that can be applied to clear or tinted glass to reduce UVA rays. Check with your car dealer or local garage for more information. Go to www.skincancer.org and type "UV film" in the search bar for a list of recommended products. However, she still advises everyone to wear sunblock or protective clothing when in the car for extended periods of time and, of course, keep the windows closed to avoid direct sun exposure. She reminds everyone to do a body check -- including the scalp -- each month, looking for any changes on the skin, and to see a dermatologist once a year for a full body check.
Source(s): Ellen Marmur, MD, chief of the division of dermatologic surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Note from Lucy: I know that when my husband drives, he puts his arm on the car door and exposes his elbow and the arm around it. He tans there easily and now I wonder about his cancer risk....
PS. Yes, I'm still here. If you will remember, my husband was having a problem with severe pain radiating from his back, across his chest and down his right arm from a nerve problem. As of now the pain is practically gone and he has most of the feeling in his right arm and hand back. The doctors were also doing tests on the spot that they discovered on his liver. He also had a "sack of marble" in his gallbladder, which of course was a gallbladder full of stones. Thru testing they found out that there was a spot about the size of an inch down on the left lobe of his liver. There are no cancer cells but they want to go in and remove the spot. They also want to take out his gallbladder at the same time. Surgery is scheduled for July 6th. (the day before my nephews wedding).
I have also been in charge of a first level, ham radio class. It was very successful with 42 people in attendance and over half taking the test and passing. After the last class we had a "radio merit badge" class for the boy scounts in our area. It was a lot of fun watching the boys as they learned about ham radio.
I've also been teaching some food storage classes and busy with that. My new calling of "Ward Emergency Prepardness co-ordinator" is consuming a lot of my time as we are already in hurricane season. There is too much here to even try to tell you about right now, that deserves a blog all on its own and I'll do that later.
I've also baby sat for my two young grandkids while Jennifer and Justin took their first real vacation since they have been married. It was a lot of fun but tiring at the same time. You can tell from the pictures that Jen and Justin had a great time on their trip. Time away is essential you any married couple.
I have also started a new business in my home and that is another complete blog away. As you can see, I've been very busy the last month and that is why I haven't blogged. Glad to be back!