Top Docs: Profiles

Meet 11 of our 2007 Top Doctors.

October 2007

Dr. Leslie Capin

Dermatology Associates of Colorado, Sky Ridge—Practicing for 21 years

Colorado Statistic In Colorado, the incidence of melanoma (skin cancer) is 30 percent higher than the national average.

"The question of why we have a high rate of melanoma is a good one. We see about four to six melanomas a week in our office, and the rate is rising faster here than anywhere else. It's scary. I think the biggest reason for our high incidence is, of course, the altitude. The intensity of the sun combined with 300 days of sunshine is huge. In fact, UV radiation increases 10 percent to 12 percent per 3,000 feet of altitude. But I also think our outdoorsy lifestyle is a factor. We ski, we hike, we run—and we're constantly exposed to harmful UV rays while doing it. Plus, Coloradans are a bit cavalier about sun protection—they think they're invincible. They also underestimate the amount of sun exposure you get here in Colorado just walking the dog or driving in the car. Thirdly, too many people here are still using tanning booths, which are even worse for you than regular sun exposure. And, lastly, I think we are doing a very good job of early detection. When we are seeing melanoma, we're mostly seeing stage one and stage two cancers. So, it raises our numbers, but it's actually a good thing."

Scary Thought "None of the treatments or drugs we have right now work well for deep melanoma. Give me breast cancer. Give my husband prostate cancer. But not melanoma. It's just so scary that a little black mole the size of a pencil tip can kill you."

Best Advice "Wear sunscreen every day, everywhere. Make sure your screen blocks UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 45 or higher."