With a total of 1,243 free skin cancer screenings to its credit, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s mobile skin cancer education and screening programDestination: Healthy Skinhas concluded its second annual journey around the US. Fifty-three dermatologists volunteered to provide the exams aboard the 38-foot Destination: Healthy SkinRV, where participants received The Skin Cancer Foundation’s educational materials and Walgreens brand sun care items.
From May to August, the Destination: Healthy SkinRV traveled more than 12,000 miles, making stops for educational events in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, Washington, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts and Maine.
“About 60 percent of the people we served this year had never received a skin cancer screening before,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Without this service, it’s possible that many of the suspected skin cancers we identified would go untreated. By helping people identify skin cancers early and urging them to seek treatment, this program is truly saving lives.”
The dermatologists identified 356 potential skin cancers and precancers, 19 of which were suspected melanomas. Julie Karen, MD, who volunteered for one of the events in New York, examined one manwho had never seen a dermatologist before. Dr. Karen flagged two lesions on the patient as suspected melanomas and urged him to seek follow-up care. He followed her advice and saw another dermatologist, who performed a biopsy that confirmed that Dr. Karen was correct. Then, he met with a surgical oncologist, and the tumors were treated. Dr. Karen says her role in potentially saving this man’s life exemplifies why she makes time to participate in the Destination: Healthy Skinprogram.
“I firmly believe in the mission of The Skin Cancer Foundation, and I take my job and skin cancer very seriously,” Dr. Karen says. “I care so much about eradicating this condition — or at least diagnosing it early and at a curable stage. That’s why I make myself available for things like this. It’s so important not only to give back, but to spread the message.”
The 2018 Destination: Healthy Skinprogram was made possible in part by generous support from Walgreens, EMD Serono and Pfizer, Amazon, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. The Skin Cancer Foundation also encouraged people to “buy a mile” and become a part of the Destination: Healthy Skin journey.
Though every type of support is integral to Destination: Healthy Skin, the program’s success relies on the generous donations of time and expertise by volunteer physicians across the country. Dermatologists interested in helping their communities may visit DestinationHealthySkin.org/volunteerfor more information on getting involved. The Skin Cancer Foundation is currently planning the 2019 Destination: Healthy Skinevent schedule.