Melanoma In Colorado
The American Cancer Society’s estimates about 96,480 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 57,220 in men and 39,260 in women) in the United States during 2019. In Colorado, these rates are even higher due to resident’s excessive exposure to harmful UV radiation which has been a well-documented cause of melanoma incidences. In fact, nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by exposure to UV sunlight. Colorado’s high altitude & love for the outdoors means the annual rate of new skin cancer diagnosis higher than the national average. We have one of the highest risk groups for death from skin cancer in the U.S.A.
About 7,230 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 4,740 men and 2,490 women).
1,850 people will contract melanoma in Colorado in 2019
Melanoma rates have increased 15x in the last 40 years in the U.S. alone
More than 350 people in the US are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every hour
1 person in the US dies every hour from melanoma
Skin cancer accounts for more than 50% of all cancers combined
Prevention: The Colorado Melanoma Foundation
Melanoma deaths in Colorado are preventable through sun safety education, sun safe behavior modification, and annual skin exams by a healthcare provider. However, while preventive measures are easy to perform, many Coloradans are unable to access these resources because of poor access to public health education or healthcare professionals.
The Colorado Melanoma Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was incorporated in July, 2013 as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in order to educate the public, support patient networks, encourage early detection and screening, and maintain current information on treatment options, sun protective behaviors, and recent developments in our global understanding on melanoma.
Our challenge at the Colorado Melanoma Foundation has been to find a way to effectively engage, educate, and screen Coloradans throughout the state to prevent skin cancer occurrences. The idea for the Sun Bus was borne from this necessity and in 2015 the Colorado Melanoma Foundation began raising money through the annual Summit Melanoma Golf Tournament at the Club at Cordillera in Edwards, CO to acquire the funds necessary to make this project a reality.
To learn more about the Colorado Melanoma Foundation, its fundraising events, governing body, and additional information, please visit its website at www.comelanoma.org
The Sun Bus
In 2018, the Colorado Melanoma Foundation raised enough funds to purchase the vehicle that would become The Sun Bus and by the beginning of 2019, with the financial support of EltaMD Skincare, The Sun Bus was officially launched to better address the Colorado Melanoma Foundation's mission throughout the state by bringing the free skin exams and public education directly to its residents.
The Sun Bus operates on an annual basis with funds provided by its primary sponsor, Elta MD Skincare, and other supporting companies such as the Wallaroo Hat Company, the Cancer League of Colorado, Vail/Aspen/Breckenridge Dermatology, Discount Tire, and Vail Health. If you or someone you know are interested in donating to the Sun Bus or becoming an official sponsor for the 2020 campaign year, check out our donate page or download our sponsorship booklet by clicking here.
The Sun Bus is a mobile classroom & clinic that has the flexibility to hyper-target select audiences at varying times throughout the year. The Sun Bus attends highly populated events and festivals between May and November of each year providing sun safety education, free EltaMD sunscreen, skin cancer awareness, and free skin checks provided by local volunteer dermatologists or physician assistants within one of the Sun Bus's private clinic exam rooms.
Our goal is to attend 50 event days every year! To see our updated schedule, please check out our calendar
In addition to these scheduled events, the Sun Bus provides fun and engaging educational activities about sun safety and skin health at Colorado K-12 schools between November and May annually. As funds grow and outreach capabilities expand, the Sun Bus will also incorporate melanoma research initiatives to further increase the knowledge associated with this deadly cancer. The Sun Bus has integrated 2 state-of-the art cameras to make its public education objectives both engaging and memorable: the Reveal Facial Imager and an Ultra Violet Camera.
The Reveal Imager
The Reveal Facial Imager is a special camera that shows the sun damage one receives over a lifetime by revealing underlying skin damage not seen by the naked eye. The more contrast (darker spots against lighter background) a person has, the more sun damage they have received over their life and the higher their chances of developing skin cancer. Typically, younger people or those with darker skin have less sun damage (see example Image 1) while older individuals with lighter completion and/or a history of sun exposure without sunscreen have more sun damage (see example Image 2).
This image is a memorable reminder to visitors to always protect yourself from the sun!
Example Image 1 (Left) Example Image 2 (Right).
The Ultra Violet Camera
On the side of the Sun Bus is a special camera to demonstrate to visitors how sunscreen protects from ultra violet radiation. This camera only sees in the ultra violet spectrum and shows the effects of applying chemical sunscreens vs physical sunscreens on the user. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light and appear dark through this camera (see example image 3); physical sunscreen, however, reflect UV light and appear white through this camera (see example image 4).
Visitors are provided with free samples of EltaMD sunscreen, a physical sunscreen, and can see a live feed of its effect on the video monitor integrated on the side of the Sun Bus.
Example Image 3. Chemical sunscreens appear dark on the UV camera because they absorb ultra violet light.
Example Image 4. Physical sunscreens appear white on the UV camera because they reflect ultra violet light. EltaMD is a physical sunscreen.