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At higher risk, Colorado residents need annual skin cancer screening

July 13, 2019, 11:23 am
The Destination: Healthy Skin mobile screening bus in Denver.

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 O. Zone

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.


  • Trained Dermatologists – To provide FREE skin cancer screening to consumers in the interactive RV truck. Share insights on suncare do’s and don’ts, and tips to stay skin-safe.
  • Walgreens Beauty Experts – To educate visitors on the importance of sun protection, distribute sunscreen samples, share best beauty products with SPF, and offer best practices to treat sunburn


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



  • At the events, Walgreens will host interactive skincare experiences featuring specially trained Walgreens beauty consultants and pharmacists.
  • These experts will be on-site to distribute sunscreen samples, educate visitors on the importance of sun protection, provide recommendations for sunburn treatment and talk with people about possible photosensitive effects of certain prescription medications.
  • In addition to the skincare educational sessions, Walgreens invites program participants to share their sunscreen knowledge by participating in a fun social media activity called, “Show Us Your Sunscreen Face.”
  • Visitors will receive samples of Walgreens sunscreen and are encouraged to apply it in a creative way, such as the “lifeguard nose.”
  • Participants can then take a photo of their “sunscreen face” and share with their friends using a special hashtag.
  • Follow along via @Walgreens and using hashtag #saveyourskin.


  • According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and incidence continues to rise.
  • It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
  • When skin cancer is found and removed early, there is a higher probability of a cure.


  • It’s estimated that 1,830 new cases of melanoma, one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, will be diagnosed in Colorado in 2019
  • Higher altitude means increased risk of sun-induced skin damage, since UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, UV radiation may be 35 to 45 percent more intense than at sea level.
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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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