The Skin Cancer Foundation’s International Initiative: San Andrés, Colombia

by Natalia Jaimes, MD

The Colombian island of San Andrés in the Caribbean has a tropical climate, about 150,000 residents, and one dermatologist. While the majority of residents have medium- to dark-toned skin, there are some fair-skinned residents.

In February 2012, The Skin Cancer Foundation, the Colombian Skin Cancer Foundation, and the Bryan International Foundation partnered to bring skin cancer information and free skin screenings to the residents of San Andrés. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Executive Director, Mary Stine, and Colombian Skin Cancer Foundation Executive Director Francisco Monsalve spearheaded the effort.

During their visit to the island, which is about 140 miles off the coast of Nicaragua, the team distributed informational materials, including sun protection guidelines and self-exam instructions. Dermatologists Maria S. Aluma, MD, Natalia Jaimes, MD, co-presidents of the Colombian Skin Cancer Foundation, and Brent Schillinger, MD, of Boca Raton, Fl., performed 270 skin exams and arranged biopsies of suspicious lesions. Five basal cell carcinomas, one suspected melanoma, and one mycosis fungoides, a type of skin lymphoma, were found.