Skin cancers linked with driving

| July 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Skin Cancer Foundation
News Release

Skin Cancer Foundation

Skin Cancer Foundation

NEW YORK — A recent study from the St. Louis University Medical School revealed that nearly 53 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left, or driver’s side of the body.

Researchers believe the increase in left-sided skin cancers may be from exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation while driving.

“People may be surprised to learn that car windows don’t provide complete sun protection,” said Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “(UV) radiation reaches us in the form of short-wave UVB and long-wave UVA rays, but glass blocks only UVB effectively.”

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is associated with most cases of skin cancer, which will affect one in five Americans during their lifetime.

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

Slip Slap Slop Skin Cancer PSA

Slip Slap Slop Skin Cancer PSA

•Treat your vehicle to a window film. Although car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA, the side windows let in about 63 percent of the sun’s UVA radiation. Rear windows are also unprotected, leaving backseat passengers exposed.

Transparent window films screen out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA, without reducing visibility, and they are available in all 50 states. Window films protect only when the windows are closed, so be sure to check if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.

•Keep sunscreen in the car. For those without window film, sunscreen should be on hand for quick reapplication. The foundation recommends reapplying every two hours. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 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. Polarized lenses to eliminate glare are especially good when driving.

•Skip the sunroof and convertible. Drivers’ heads and necks receive the most UV exposure, so it’s no surprise that the St. Louis University research team found more than 82 percent of skin cancers on the patients’ heads or necks.

A solid, closed roof is the best bet. If you have a sunroof or a convertible top, wear a hat, preferably a wide-brimmed one. At the very least, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed areas of the face, neck and scalp.

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Category: Community, Health

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