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 15 times 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

THE SUN BUS

In 2018, the Colorado Melanoma Foundation raised enough funds to purchase the vehicle that would become The Sun Bus. By April of 2019, with the financial support of EltaMD and other Sponsors, The Sun Bus was officially launched to better address the mission of the Colorado Melanoma Foundation.

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.

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.

Education

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 1) while older individuals with lighter completion and/or a history of sun exposure without sunscreen have more sun damage (see Example 2).

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This image is a memorable reminder to visitors to always protect yourself from the sun!

Example 1

Example 2

Ultra Violet Camera

Example 3.  Chemical sunscreens appear dark on the UV Camera because they absorb ultra violet light. 

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 3); physical sunscreen, however, reflect UV light and appear white through this camera (see Example 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 4.  Physical sunscreens appear white on the UV Camera because they reflect ultra violet light. EltaMD is a physical sunscreen.