Press Release April 29, 2011


Cover up, wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses to help reduce sun exposure

Elise Oberliesen, Public Relations Director, Big Mountain Media, LLC

Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Chief of the Dermatology Service, Denver VA Medical Center

Rachel Burnett, Vice Chair, Colorado Cancer Coalition, Skin Cancer Task Force


GOLDEN, COLORADO—May marks Melanoma Awareness Month and that why it’s important to take notice of your sun safety practices and beef up on skin cancer prevention tactics. Each year about 120,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer are reported in Americans each year, says a report from the American Skin Cancer Foundation. So, to help people learn easy ways to stay safe in the sun, the Colorado Cancer Coalition and its Skin Cancer Task Force members and volunteers are working hard to remind everyone how easy it is to practice sun safety.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is the obvious one. Stay out of the sun. “People often do not realize that sunscreen is a sun protection last resort--to be used when you cannot avoid the mid-day sun or use clothing and hats to protect your skin,” says Chief of the Dermatology Service, Dr. Robert Dellavalle, MD, Denver VA Medical Center.

But when outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking or walking beckon for some Mother Nature time, the next best line of defense—wear the sunscreen.

Sunscreen Tips

·         Use a broad spectrum sunscreen for UVA and UVB rays, to prevent aging and burning

·         Apply sunscreen evenly and about every two hours for increased protection

·         Reach for long sleeves if skin turns pink

To help Coloradoans stay safe while outdoors, Rocky Mountain Sunscreen will be donating a gallon-sized jug of sunscreen at events like National Get Outdoors Day, June 11, in Denver City Park, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Consider skin as UV gas tanks, absorbing sunlight. Everyone is born with a unique sized gas tank. UV exposure fills that tank over a lifetime of outdoor activity. When the tank is full, there’s increased risk for skin irritation and skin cancer, says Rocky Mountain Sunscreen President and Skin Cancer Task Force member Dave Erickson.

“Our goal is to slow this cumulative lifetime UV exposure with proper sun protection techniques including wide brimmed headwear, UV protective eyewear, apparel and sunscreen – especially for our children as we know a lot more today than we did in years past,” Erickson says.

Wondering if sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer? According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the answer is yes. “A 2010 randomized trial in Australia has shown that routine sunscreen use does prevent melanoma,” Dellavalle says.

With regular UV protection, some medical experts say it can reduce skin cancer risk significantly. And it’s not that hard to do, says Colorado Skin Cancer Task Force Chair Mary Buller. One easy tip, let your clothes protect you. “Clothing can be a convenient and effective sunscreen. It blocks UVA and UVB. It doesn't wash or wear off, so its protection can last all day,” Buller says. But don’t stop there. Wear hats with a tightly woven construction. Ladies can reach for 3 to 4 inch brimmed hats to help shield the face and neck. Guys can do the same. Simple steps like these help reduce direct UV exposure by as much as 50 percent, says Buller.