The Preventing Skin Cancer in Western Colorado project will serve Colorado’s Grand Valley and broader Western Colorado, targeting Garfield, Mesa, Delta, and Montrose counties. Within this vast region, the project will target individuals of all ages who engage in outdoor recreation; residents and visitors to this region engage in outdoor recreation more frequently than in nearly any other region in the state. At elevation ranging from 5,000 to 12,000 feet, ultraviolet radiation in Northwest Colorado is 20% to 120% more intense than at sea level, and the effect of this radiation is evident in the diagnosis rate of melanoma skin cancers, which are 113% higher in the targeted counties than the statewide average. The rate of melanoma is so high that skin cancer prevention was identified as a concern in Mesa County’s 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment.
The project, implemented by St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, will extend the evidence-based use of Cross-Polarized Light (CPL) photography to the Western Slope to provide skin cancer prevention focused outreach and education among children, young adults and adults. The goal of the project is to increase awareness of skin cancer prevention and increase skin cancer prevention behaviors among children, adolescents and adults in urban, rural, and frontier communities in Western Colorado.