It’s summertime, which means when not on the road it’s the time of year to get outside and enjoy the sun before Old Man Winter comes back. While many of us head outside to the beach, to the hiking trails, and just our backyards to throw burgers on the grill, we don’t often think about protecting ourselves from the sun.  The “C” word is a scary word, but it’s an important one that needs to be addressed.
Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States. Every year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the number of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. Each year over 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer.  And if those facts don’t scare you this one will – one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.
Thankfully you can reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. As truck drivers you’re constantly in the sun. You might not think about it, but you are at higher risk because window glass does not effectively block out the sun’s UV rays. A recent study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology determined that drivers are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer lesions on the left side of their bodies.

You’ve probably heard your mother or significant other tell you to wear sunscreen when you go out in the sun. They say that for good reason! Sunscreen can reduce your chances of developing skin cancer lesions. A few ways to reduce your risk while driving include:
  • Use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher
  • Wear clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts, to protect exposed skin
  • Wear a baseball cap or hat with a brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays
While taking precautions to protect yourself from exposure is most important, it is also essential to recognize the signs of skin damage and seek out professional medical care. General signs of skin damage include:
  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Spider veins
  • Rough, leathery skin
  • Fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched
  • Excess loose skin
  • Blotchy complexion
While some of the above signs of skin damage may be normal features of your skin, like freckles, it is important to learn and know your skin.  Keep an eye on any freckles and moles you might have on your body. If you notice any changes in those features then it’s important to see your doctor right away. Signs of severe skin damages that requires immediate medical attention include:
  • A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multi-colored
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
    • Changes in texture or color
    • Increases in size or thickness
    • Is larger than the size of a pencil eraser
  • A spot or sore that itches, hurts, forms a crust, scab, bleeds, and does not heal within 3 weeks
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer with about 2.8 million new diagnoses every year. Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal, but can cause disfigurement if allowed to grow. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer and has been on the rise in the recent years.  
Melanoma is the most fatal form of skin cancer in the United State with one person dying every hour. One in 50 men and women will be diagnoses with melanoma in their lifetime. When melanoma is identified early, it has a 91% survival rate.
As truck drivers you are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer because of your constant exposure to the sun. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate through glass so it is important to apply sunscreen and wear the right clothing. Even if you have dark skin and don’t burn easily, you’re still at risk.  Be smart and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

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Tara Schaub

Originally from Michigan, Tara started at ATBS in August of 2012. She began her career in the Administrative Services Department, and then moved on to become a Customer Relationship Representative in 2013. She now works directly with the enrollment team, and also assists the Marketing Team with a variety of different tasks. When not at work, Tara loves to play tennis, volleyball, hike and go on bike rides.

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