Home Science Health Left side of body gets more Sun (cancer) when driving in U.S.

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An American study found that people in the United States are slightly more prone to getting certain types of skin cancer on the left side of their bodies than on the right side. Driving may be to blame.


Research from scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle analyzed skin cancer as part of data from a government database; specifically, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry between 1986 and 2006.

They found that: Malignant Melanoma (MM) and Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) were significantly more likely to present on the left side of the body than on the right.

The Washington State researchers found within their study:

'¢    Malignant Melanoma occurs on the left side of the body 52% of the time, versus 48% on the right side.

MM is a type of skin cancer involving a malignant tumor of melanocytes, which changes the color of the skin.)

For malignant melanoma:

'¢    When they looked at just the arms, the researchers found 53% of the MM occurred on the left side, versus 49% the right.

'¢    For the face, the percent on the left side was 51%, versus the 49% on the right.

'¢    And, for the legs, the left side was 52&, versus 48% for the right side.

And, for merkel cell carcinoma:

'¢    Merkel Cell Carcinoma occurs 53% on the left side of the body, versus 47% on the right side.

MCC is a rare but highly aggressive cancer in which malignant cancer cells develop on or below the skin and in hair follicles; also called cutaneous apudoma.

'¢    When they looked at only the arms, merkel cell carcinoma occurred 55% of the time on the left arm, versus 45% on the right arm.

'¢    For the face, the percent on the left side was 52%, versus the 49% on the right.

'¢    And, for the legs, the left side was 50&, versus 50% for the right -- no difference.

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University

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