Checkup: Sunscreen For the Road
It appears that the threat of cancer can catch up to you even when you're in your car, especially, it seems, when you're driving north in the afternoon. Here's St. Louis University dermatologist Scott Fosko to explain what his recent study found.
Sorry, George Harrison. It's not alright. Researchers recently found an interesting connection between driving and skin cancer -- on part of your body. Here's dermatologist Scott Fosko of Saint Louis University to explain.
"A lot of my colleagues would talk about this. We would see patients where they would come in and have either precancerous changes like actinic keratoses or skin cancer on the left and we'd say "Boy, it must be the driving." For a given year, we took all comers who came to our skin cancer unit for surgery. Basically, skin cancer did predominate on the left side overall when you look at both in men and women, but it really was a stronger association for men."
They focused on cancers occurring on body parts that are often exposed to the sun while you're cruising down the road. Additional evidence suggests that driving is the link, rather than, well, some other mysterious factor that would strike your left side.
When they divided women by age, those younger than 50 also showed the left-sided connection. Women over 50 didn't -- perhaps because older women had been in the passenger seat more often in the past.
The take-home message appears to be: Wear sunscreen while driving. But this may be a tough sell says Fosko.
"The reality is a lot of people are not going to think as they're running out the door at 7 in the morning, 'I didn't put my sunscreen on.' Maybe people will say 'I'm going to be in the car all day, I should think about that a little bit.' I think it's just another exposure to think about and with time maybe people will make some changes."
I'm Eric Metcalf. Let's get out of here. I tell you what, though, why don't we take turns behind the wheel?