Professional drivers at risk of skin cancer from sun exposure
In a study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine found that drivers were at an increased risk of facial skin cancers, predominantly on the left side of the body.
"Drivers need to be aware of the amount of sun exposure they receive behind the wheel," said Scott Fosko, chairman of dermatology at the university and coauthor of the study. "The cumulative effect of being exposed to the sun builds up over many years."
According to the American Cancer Society, most of the more than 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the United States are considered to be sun-related. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, accounted for a majority of the nearly 12,000 deaths due to skin cancer last year.
Fosko said professional drivers aren't the only ones who need to monitor exposure to the sun. Daily commuters should be concerned as well, he said. He recommended drivers wear sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays every day to avoid skin cancer. Checking the label of the product allows consumers to ensure the sunscreen protects against both.
Tinting glass and using ultraviolet filters on windows also helps reduce the amount of UV rays, Fosko said. In addition to sunscreen on sun-exposed areas, he recommended drivers to wear protective clothing whenever possible.
"Professional drivers learn to wear proper safety equipment be it gloves, steel-toed boots or safety glasses when appropriate," Fosko said. "Sunscreen should be added to the list. An ounce of sunscreen applied as prevention on the road can be worth a lot of time and expense parked in a doctor's office later on."
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July 22, 2010
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