RENO, NV - It’s the most common form of cancer here in the US—skin cancer. Every year more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than cancer of the breast, prostate,lung or colon cancer combined. And a new study shows that you could be exposing yourself by doing something as common as driving a car.
You're supposed to keep one hand on the wheel while driving,--the other is often times resting on the window of the car.
On a sunny day, the arm, and for that matter the side of the face, are exposing themselves to ultraviolet radiation--that's when compared to the right side.
A recent study from the University of Washington shows people here in the US are more likely to develop skin cancer on their left side.
“You know its something that dermatologist and people that deal with skin cancer just know, its more common on the left side. To have a study what validates what everyone has been feeling makes sense,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson, a Reno Dermatologist with Nevada Center for Dermatology.
The study shows the most dangerous form of cancer, melanoma appears on the left side of the body 52-percent of the time.
Another form of skin cancer, Merkel cell appeared on the upper left arm 55-percent of the time.
Car windows block most UVB rays--those that cause sunburns.
But those same windshields may not protect you from UVA, less intense but still a skin damager over time.
Those prone to skin cancer should be diligent and wear sun screen or protective clothing--even in the car.
Those we talked to about the study said it made sense, it could make them change their habits, or they simply don't believe the findings.
“Its funny cause me and my mom always talk about one arm being in the sun, and it being darker than the other. I never would have though you could get cancer from that,” said Rebecca Glines.
“Little scary cause I'm not really good at putting on sun screen,” said Carole Patterson who has a history of skin cancer in her family.
“I find it hard to believe. Like I don't think that's why they get sin cancer driving with their arm out the door. But, I don't know,” said Judi Stabile.
Judi lso told us she never wears sunscreen and likes to get a good tan every summer.
Other similar studies focusing on other countries show a different result.
In Australia for instance, most of the skin cancers appear on the right side.
However they drive on the right side in that country.