CHICAGO (CBS) – Every time you get behind the wheel, you could be at risk for skin cancer.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, rolling down your window and hanging your arm out could be hazardous to your health. But doctors say it could result in cancerous tumors on your arm.
“It’s deceiving – I mean for all of us – when we’re driving along and on a sunny day, and we think, either the window is up or even if the window is down, that you don’t have anything to worry about,” said Dr. Julius Few, a plastic surgeon who directs the Few Institute SkinSuite Medical Spa.
But Few says there is credence in the study that found the majority of skin cancer cases involved the left arm and left side of the face.
“I’ve definitely seen cancers both on the left side of the face and the left arm, especially in people who spend a lot of time – for example, truck drivers, or people who are business professionals making a lot of road travel,” Few said.
Among those doing a lot of road travel, cab driver Nana Gyamfi, who spends 14 hours a day in his car. He says he has noticed his left arm is much darker than his right.
“Right, because it’s on the sun, so you can tell the difference,” he said.
The solution isn’t that complicated. Few says sunscreen can greatly diminish the risk.
“At an SPF of really 20, you’re blocking out more than 90 percent of UV,” he said.
But who puts on sunscreen on just for driving? Driver Patrick Polhemus concedes that he does not.
“Not on my arms on a daily basis, so I guess it makes some food for thought, to think about for the future,” he said.
Few also says you should always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, providing protection from all types of ultraviolet exposure.