I was recently diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma on my nose. In August I’ll have Mohs surgery to remove it.
To be clear, basal cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer – one of the most common forms of the most common form of cancer overall. It grows very slowly, is very unlikely to spread to other parts of the body and is very treatable if caught early and dealt with relatively quickly.
That being said, it’s still kind of scary when your dermatologist tells you you have cancer. It’s a lot less scary when you’ve been doing regular annual screenings because you live in Colorado and you know you’re at elevated (literally) risk of getting skin cancer.
The higher the altitude, the thinner the atmosphere and therefore the lower the natural protection from ultraviolet radiation (UV) generated by the sun.
I’m also at higher risk because I’m a male over the age of 50 – the most commonly at-risk group for contracting a basal cell carcinoma. Plus, I’m a male over 50 who skis, hikes and bikes a lot above 7,000 feet in the Colorado high country.
A basal cell carcinoma most commonly forms after years of intense exposure to the sun and can form even if you’ve done a good job of protecting high-exposure areas (like your nose) with clothing, sunscreen or both. That’s why at age 50 I started do annual skin checks.
In the past I’ve interviewed my dermatologist, Dr. Aaron Lloyd at Colorado Mountain Medical in Avon, for a story in the Vail Daily. He recommended a good website out of New Zealand (with far less pharmaceutical company influence) for more information. It’s called Dermnetnz.org.
I’ve also written about a partnership between the Skin Cancer Foundation and Walgreens to provide free screenings and advice using a mobile facility in Denver. We have a Walgreens with a beauty consultant who can help you with product recommendation right here in Avon.
“One in five people will be diagnosed with skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer, and it can be preventable to some extent with proper sunscreen application,” said Kandice Martinez, Beauty Area Expert for Walgreens in Colorado, including the Avon store.
“So on the bus [in Denver] we will have the local dermatologist and they are doing the complimentary full body screenings in private exam rooms,” Martinez said. “Then they’ll also be giving advice on what to look for, warning signs as well as overall skin protection.”
The mobile facility, part of the Destination: Healthy Skin program, will be in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood providing free screenings the next two days. That’s a big plus for people with healthcare access or insurance issues that may prevent them from getting annual screenings.
“They’ll be on the bus doing that, which is really great because it can take months sometimes to get into a dermatologist, and it can be costly,” Martinez added. “The fact that we’re doing this completely complimentary is really amazing.”
True, and here are the details on this weekend’s event in Denver:
Walgreens and The Skin Cancer Foundation Invite You to The “Destination: Healthy Skin” Experience Free Skin Cancer Screenings in Denver Saturday 7/13 and Sunday 7/14
Walgreens, a provider of trusted care in communities since 1901, has joined The Skin Cancer Foundation on the road this year in support of its Destination: Healthy Skin Program – a national effort to educate consumers about the importance of effective sun protection for skin cancer prevention, and the importance of early detection. During the nationwide tour, consumers will have the opportunity to enter an innovative, customized RV with private exam rooms where trained dermatologists will provide FREE full-body skin cancer screenings.
Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MT
2205 19th St
Denver, CO 80202
By the Denver Skate Park
WALGREENS AND DESTINATION: HEALTHY SKIN PROGRFAM
SKIN CANCER IN THE U.S.
SKIN CANCER IN Colorado