When the weather's right, it feels great to turn off the A/C, roll down the window and just go for a ride. But while the wind feels great, the sun may be killing you. USA Today reports that U.S. drivers are more prone to the potentially deadly melanoma and merkel cell carcinoma skin cancers on the left side of their bodies. The window American drivers hang their arms out of on those great driving days? Also the left side.

The study, conducted by the University of Washington and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, shows that 55 percent of upper arm skin cancers, 52 percent of U.S. melanoma cases, and 53 percent of merkel cell carcinomas surface on the left side of the body. The driving connection is given further credence thanks to a 1986 study from Australia that showed the majority of male skin cancers surface on the right side of the body. Australian vehicles are right-hand drive.

While the study suggests that driving with the window down can potentially increase your risk of skin cancer (as is the case with any prolonged sun exposure, for that matter), we do know that rolling the window up provides some protection. Vehicle windows block most UVB rays, which helps mitigate sun exposure. That's good to know, but keeping the windows up 365 days a year is an unreasonable expectation. The open-air experience is part of what makes the freedom of driving so rewarding. Might not be a bad idea to keep a tube of sunscreen handy for those sunny, windows-down days, though.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      icharlie
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think people are way too worried. Continue living life without being worried about EVERYTHING and you will be fine. Sure, its good to be careful but worrying is worse. Next: Driving a car with the A/C on is bad for you because its not fresh air. Or cancer threat from sitting on leather or cloth seats. Blah, windows down, music blasting shall continue.
      SloopJohnB
      • 3 Years Ago
      OMFG! And did you know that 40% of sick leave is taken on Mondays and Fridays!!!!?
      kingrat001
      • 3 Years Ago
      I had a friend who died of melanoma 18 years after he originally developed it, and thought it was just a scar and a bad memory. He used to drive around the family farm in his grandfather's old truck, with no shirt on. The original place it stared was just behind his left arm on his back. When it came back, he thought he had a bladder infection, but an X--Ray showed he had bladder and liver cancer, and a week later, another test showed it was in his lungs. A genetic study showed it was the melanoma, it had just waited and came back. He died a couple months later, and it wasn't pleasant. A lot of pain. I had a horrible sunburn on the left side of the face about 30 years ago, and I have had a couple of "suspicious" looking things removed. No cancer, but it's still not fun to go through.
      Jeff Gilleran
      • 3 Years Ago
      The reason we are starting to get skin cancer is actually due to high body acids (drinking pop and anything with a high PH), and dehydration in the cells which promote stronger sunburns. We can't keep our immune systems strong enough to prevent cancer as easily under these conditions Our bodies MAKE cancer and defeat it daily! Cancer is not a disease, it is an immune system deficency. If you dont have the right internal body environment, you arent going to be healthy anyway. Plain as that. I hear a new water system from Japan called I think, "Kangen".. seems promising. Gets rid of free radicals, and hydrates way better than conventional water as the water is alkaline rather than Acidic. Done by negative ion restructuring.. pretty cool.
      elvisman690
      • 3 Years Ago
      *Study commissioned by Johnson & Johnson. Seriously, this 'the sun causes cancer' bit has been done to death. Toxic waste sunblock is more likely to cause cancer than the sun that gives the body Vitamin D, which combats cancer. We never would have made it if all of our farming ancestors were dying from cancer left and right.
        Turbofrog
        • 3 Years Ago
        @elvisman690
        FWIW: "Conflicts of interest: None declared. Funded by the Merkel Cell Carcinoma Patient Gift Fund at the University of Washington, ACS RSG-08-115-01-CCE and K24 CA139052-0 (Dr Nghiem) and National Institutes of Health F30ES017385 (Dr Paulson)." Guess what - our farming ancestors may well have been dying from cancer left and right. You were lucky to live to age 50 in 1900!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Dump
      • 3 Years Ago
      ...and you look like a country hick trying to "look" cool with his/her seat raised too high or set to forward....
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who still wears a watch?
        Gavin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Plenty of us...I don't think Seiko are going out of business anytime soon.
      Dallas King
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest cancer measured by survival rate, lung cancer is the deadliest by body count. So, your title is kind of wrong.
        rsnow24
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dallas King
        All malignancies can be deadly. So technically it doesn't matter.
      mojonaut
      • 3 Years Ago
      I read a blog recently which said blogging about things which cause cancer causes cancer. Of course, some other blog is going to come out next week that will prove the total opposite.
      mainframewayne
      • 3 Years Ago
      Life is fatal. enjoy!
      Fixitfixitstop
      • 3 Years Ago
      So THIS is why people drive convertibles with the roof down and the windows up!
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