More on sun exposure and cancer risk, ways to prevent and a personal story of cure

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Andrea Marks, whose name will be familiar from our coverage of the TruckerNation org, which grew out of the ELD or Me Facebook group in 2017, wrote in to share some of her experience with melanoma skin cancer and correct the record, of a fashion, on its treatment.

It’s a fact that malignant melanoma can be very aggressive, traveling fast to other places in the body, but when the notion arose that the condition was a totally incurable one in the edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast of June 28, Marks took some exception, as she’s been cancer-free for some time. Her bout with melanoma, too, occurred after it had begun its spread: “I am living proof that melanoma is, in fact, curable,” she noted, after being diagnosed way back in 2007 with a the “stage 4 malignant” form of the cancer. It “had been spread to lymph nodes in my neck, under both my arms, behind my belly button, and in my groin. After 11 surgeries, 368 days of chemo and immunotherapy, I am cancer free.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation, furthermore, details the difficulty treating melanoma when it’s spread like this, and Marks’ experience underscores that reality. Caught early, though, as in the situation of former trucker Joe Jolly detailed in a prior podcast, “it is almost always curable,” the foundation says.

Not say anyone wants to get there in the first place, and Marks underscores the widespread nature of the risks, particularly for anyone who works in an outdoor environment (and I’m including the truck’s cab in that thought): “Drivers are not the only ones at risk,” she says. “Everyone — dock workers, dispatchers, drivers wives and kids, office workers — they all need to be educated on all the risks.”

Potential preventive measures are many, among the chief measures the use of sunscreen. Few drivers report regular sunscreen use on the haul.

Do you routinely use sunscreen for skin protection when you’re hauling?

As also shown in the poll results above, window glass and films can provide protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that as a general rule, auto glass in most windshields is effective at blocking most the vast majority of ultraviolet (UV) light, while less common are side and other windows that do the same, as has been noted here before. Glass as a general rule effectively prevents short-wavelength UVB rays from penetrating but longer-wavelength UVA rays can still get through without additional measures. Depending on how your truck’s glass is formulated, extra side-window filming could be prudent — as shown above 1 in 10 have some additional protection there, whether from the factory or with an aftermarket film.

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There is no greenhouse-type amplification effect when it comes to UV light in windows, as Marks also noted. Read more about the windows subject and UV exposure via the foundation at this link, and find more about skin-cancer prevention via this link.