DENVER – The Colorado Melanoma Foundation is hoping to drive home the message that Colorado is one of the highest UV exposure states in the country and that everyone needs to take extra steps to protect themselves.
The Foundation’s new Sun Bus is touring the state this summer providing skin cancer screenings and safety education at events like the Cinco de Mayo and Boulder Creek Festivals.
Skin cancer is not only one of the most common cancers in Colorado, it is also one of the most preventable. Living at altitude exposes us to increased levels of ultra violet (UV) sunlight which believed to be responsible for nearly 90% of melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
While the best prevention is to stay out of the sun, Coloradans love for the outdoors makes that impractical. Dr. Neil Box, a skin cancer researcher at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and one of the founders of the Colorado Melanoma Foundation, says the key is to cover up your exposed skin when you’re outside either with clothing or sunscreen.
“You want more than SPF 30,” Box said. “You also want broad spectrum, so it screens out UVA and UVB rays.”