For Drivers, Skin Cancer Is Often One-Sided

Tumors more likely on left arm, neck, especially in men, study shows

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FRIDAY, Feb. 2, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- People who spend a lot of time behind the wheel may be motoring their way to an increased risk of skin cancer on the left side of their body, U.S. researchers report.

"Since previous scientific findings have shown an association between one-sided exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) and an asymmetric facial distribution of sun damage, we would expect that skin cancers also would be more prevalent on the left side of the body in drivers who spend a significant amount of time in their cars," Dr. Scott Fosko, professor and chairman of dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

"Our initial findings confirm that there is a correlation between more time spent driving and a higher incidence of left-side skin cancers, especially on sun-exposed areas in men," Fosko said.

He and his team looked at 898 people (559 men and 339 women) with skin cancer on either side of the body. Of the 53 percent of patients with left-side skin cancers, 64 percent were men and 36 percent were women.

The researchers also found that men, but not women, had a statistically significant number of left-side skin cancers on areas -- arms, hands, neck and head -- that are most often exposed to sunlight/UV radiation while driving.

As of January, Fosko and his team had collected 70 completed questionnaires designed to evaluate the driving habits of dermatology patients. Initial results show a direct link between driving time and left-side skin cancer risk.

The research was expected to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, in Washington, D.C.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute offers advice on skin cancer prevention.

SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, Feb. 2, 2007

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