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Peak Vista, a 2011 community grantee, operates 19 outpatient health centers in Colorado, providing high quality health care to low-income, uninsured and under-insured families since 1971, including free skin cancer screenings.

Over 420 Colorado Springs and surrounding area residents turned out for an annual skin screening in May, recognizing the importance of early detection when it comes to cancer protection. This was the largest turnout since it began – up over 150% from prior years. The event was hosted by the community skin screening team, comprised of 6 local health care agencies including Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Penrose Cancer Center, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, Memorial Health System, American Cancer Society, local dermatologists and 18 volunteers. Through a grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the team was able to utilize local marketing opportunities to reach the community with event details and is credited with positively impacting attendance.

Participants ranged in age from 6-94 and of the 426 community members screened, 173 were referred for follow-up. “Screenings such as this one benefit our community through heightened awareness of skin cancer and saving lives through early detection of possibly fatal skin cancer,” said Dr. Jim McCoy, a local dermatologist. Nine possible malignant melanomas were diagnosed at the screening.

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 3.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. To prevent skin cancer, local dermatologists recommend generously applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Editor’s Note: The Foundation’s Community Grants program supports local cancer education and screening programs across the United States for all populations, especially underserved communities. The Foundation is proud to support the skin cancer awareness and screenings provided by the Peak Vista Community Health Centers along with the other cancer prevention projects of the 2011 grantees.