Know the warning signs of skin cancer and protect yourself

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DENVER -- Colorado is known for lots sunny days and high altitude, but those attributes also make residents more likely to develop skin cancer.

Knowing the signs of developing skin cancer is crucial to safeguarding your health.   Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Growths appear on the skin after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds.  The tumors often resemble moles and some even develop from existing moles on the skin.   Most are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.

Dr.  James DeVito of Dermatology Associates of Colorado says, “(Those) who tend to burn easily and don't tan but freckle, those with red or strawberry blonde hair, they have the highest risk of skin cancer.”

Dr. DeVito also warns that while people with darker skin are less prone to skin cancer because of their natural sun protection, they should still see a doctor if they notice the appearance of moles or changes in their skin.

Many times signs of skin cancer will surface under the feet or even in the armpit area, where sun exposure is limited.

It is especially important to monitor children and limit their time in the sun.  Watch for signs of skin irritation or sunburn and keep them well hydrated.

Melanoma kills an estimated 8,790 people in the US each year, but if caught early, it is almost always curable.

For more information about  skin cancer warning signs visit