People on the Move: Cancer Risks for Truck Drivers

February 4th marks World Cancer Day. To recognize this day, John Elliott of Carevive joined host Tyler Kern on the latest episode of People on the Move to discuss the cancer risks that exist for truck drivers. While not a clinician, through his role at Carvive, Elliott professional career revolves around oncology and knows the unique problems that affect the truck driver population.

Among the risks drivers face includes skin cancer. “They’re on the road, windows down, windows up, you’re still receiving a lot of sunlight,” Elliott said.

Elliott noted that there is a direct correlation between the side of the vehicle a driver is sitting on and where they might develop skin cancer. Another potential risk is lung cancer, considering the level of fumes drivers encounter.

One of the most important elements for mitigating cancer risk is early detection, which means developing regularity with a primary care physician. “Early detection… leads to more treatment plans, higher survival rate, better quality of life while in treatment,” Elliott explained. “Think of that primary care provider… as more of a home base. They can help you in many ways and have a significant impact on the outcome if you [are] diagnosed.”

A recent development that has helped truck drivers is telehealth. Telehealth popularity rose throughout the pandemic and has made it easier for consultations to be made regardless of where a driver might be on the road.

Even during treatment, there is remote technology that can assist with monitoring the severity of symptoms. “[It’s] really filling the gaps between those consults,” said Elliott, “that could also [mean] through telemedicine that the outcome is substantially better.”

Speaking to World Cancer Day, Elliott provided parting advice for listeners. “Align with the preventions protocols, align with screening and, in the worst case for treatment, remain connected.”

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