Increased prevalence of left-sided skin cancers

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Dec;63(6):1006-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.11.032. Epub 2010 Mar 11.


Background: Previous research has shown an increase in photodamage and precancers on the left side of the face.

Objective: We sought to determine whether there is a higher frequency of skin cancer development on the left side of the body than the right.

Methods: The study was a retrospective review of patients with skin cancer referred to our Mohs micrographic surgery and cutaneous oncology unit in 2004.

Results: When including all types of skin cancers and both sexes, more cancers occurred on the left (52.6%) than the right (47.4%) (P = .059), with a stronger trend in men (P = .042). There were significantly more malignant melanoma in situ on the left (31/42, 74%) than the right (11/42, 26%) (P = .002).

Limitations: Population was comprised of patients referred to an academic medical center and often for Mohs micrographic surgery.

Conclusions: There were significantly more skin cancers on the left than the right side in men. This discrepancy was even more profound in malignant melanoma in situ.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Carcinoma in Situ / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Aging / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects