GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — If you’re planning your summer adventures the one thing you don’t want to forget is sunblock. Here’s why you’re more likely to get skin cancer in Colorado than nearly any other state.
Most Coloradans live to be outdoors.
“The biggest thing is not just wearing sunscreen but remembering to reapply it,” states Community Hospital’s Dr. Courtney Fulton.
Summer is right around the corner. If you haven’t made sunscreen a part of your routine, here are a few tips on why you should re-consider.
“You really want to put it on your face, neck and back of your hands and then anything else that is going to be sun exposed no matter what the weather because you never know it only takes 20-30 minutes outside to get a sunburn,” continues Dr. Fulton.
If we want to understand why the sun is stronger in Colorado – Elevation is key.
“Most of Colorado is at high elevation and the higher you are at elevation the thinner the ozone layer is and the more intense the direct sun can be,” says Dr. Fulton.
A 1999 American Academy of Dermatology study found that measured sun intensity in New York, Vail, and Orlando found people who live in Colorado year round at elevations above 8500ft are 115% more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer than people living at sea level. The higher up you live, the higher your odds of skin cancer – even in winter.
“When you’re doing things like skiing, where the sun is actually reflecting off the snow as well, so you kind of get a double hit there,” advised Dr. Fulton.
Dr. Fulton says people with all skin tones are at risk for skin cancer and should invest in a good sunscreen.
“Absolutely people with darker skin can get skin cancer and should practice sun safety as well,” says Dr. Fulton.
Knowing the A through E signs of skin cancer could save your life.
“So “A” being asymmetry so if you have a mole on your body that isn’t perfectly round that’s concerning. “B” for border so for the edge of it [if it’s] irregular. “C” for color, is it getting darker? “D” is diameter which we say anything greater than 6mm which would be the size of a pencil eraser. so if its bigger than that- that’s concerning. and “E” would be evolution,” explains Dr. Fulton.
Bottom line? Don’t let the Colorado sun throw shade on your adventures. Wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days and if you don’t like wearing sunscreen try UV proof clothing.