Sun & Skin News

350 Skin Cancer Screenings in June!

By Isha Vedantam • July 21, 2022
Destination Healthy Skin Tampa free skin cancer screenings. The Skin Cancer Foundation. RV

As our Destination Healthy Skin (DHS) RV rolls deeper into summer, our hardworking volunteer dermatologists continue their commitment to screen hundreds of people for skin cancer. In June, our dermatologists collectively donated 35 hours of their time to conduct more than 350 skin cancer screenings. They identified 127 potential skin precancers and skin cancers, including four suspected melanomas.

June got off to a rocky start when the RV began shuttering its way through the hills of Virginia. Our driver quickly got off the road and found a mechanic. Special thanks to the crew at the Excel Truck Group of Glen Allen, Virginia, who figured out the issue, ordered the correct engine parts and made the repair. Because of the engine trouble, we had to cancel our first day of screenings in North Carolina. Luckily, we were able to get the RV back on the road quickly and continue on our way.

Sweet Carolina (June 4)

A local morning news segment in Raleigh, the City of Oaks, announced the RV’s arrival, which drew many participants to the event. Our on-the-ground team was pleased to discover that the city was hosting a food festival at the same time. Yum! Raleigh dermatologist Carol Trakimas, DO, screened 31 participants and identified seven suspected precancers, two suspected basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and two suspected melanomas.

Two brothers arrived and told our event organizers that their concerned mother heard about the event and told them to go get checked. In comment cards, several attendees expressed their gratitude for an opportunity to get some of their concerning spots checked out:

“I am so relieved that your service is available – I struggle with health care processes. Your RV makes it easy (1 brother 2 sisters have been diagnosed with cancer)”

“Important because my father had melanoma. He died of lung cancer. Multiple seborrheic keratosis.”

Could potentially save my life”

The Big Peach (June 6)

In Georgia, the land of peaches and peanuts, 200 attendees visited the RV. Long-time Atlanta volunteer Rutledge Forney, MD, screened 23 participants in less than three hours and identified a suspected basal cell carcinoma along with a precancerous spot on a gentleman who had recently observed something new and changing. WSB-TV Channel 2 News highlighted the event in their broadcast, which brought out several participants. Some people told us that they had never heard of a skin cancer screening before.

From our Atlanta participants:

 “You never know unless you get checked”

“I hope I can check you all out the next time you are all here in Atlanta GA”

And we certainly hope to see you again!

Alligator State (June 10-11)

On a hot and humid Florida fry-day, our volunteer dermatologists and event team kicked off a weekend of skin exams and local media interviews! Tampa dermatologists Amy Ross, MD, and Maria Sotomayor, MD, screened more than 100 people over the two-day event. They identified 17 suspected precancers, eight suspected basal cell carcinomas and two suspected squamous cell carcinomas.

Participants were enthusiastic, eager and relieved to get their skin checked. Dr. Ross was also able to book a follow up appointment in her free clinic for a participant without insurance. The participant also received education resources from The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Comments by our grateful Tampa participants:

“Very important cause if I have it, want to be treated right away”

“My skin has always been sensitive so it would be good to know”

Important, thanks for doing this. 4 members in my family have had skin cancer”

“I appreciate the opportunity to be screened today”

Not Our First Rodeo (June 18-19)

At our Dallas events we did our best to protect event workers, attendees and volunteers from the blazing sun and 100-degree heat with shade structures, sunscreen and lots of water. Despite the weather we had a successful event at the beautiful Dallas Farmers Market, where Rajiv Nijhawan, MD, volunteered. A total of 31 exams revealed two suspected precancers, a suspected squamous cell carcinoma and a suspected melanoma.

One appreciative participant shared his personal skin cancer experience, highlighting the benefits of regular skin checks and sun protection. Two other young participants also revealed their history of skin cancer and expressed the value of sun protection and educating the public about the dangers of skin cancer.

Check out what some Dallas participants had to say:

My family has a history of skin cancer, so I love this accessibility” 

“Just trying to see if I’m doing good with the sunscreen”

“Great public service for those that aren’t prone to doing these types of checkups”

Everything’s Big in Texas (June 23-24)

We drove deeper into the Lone Star State, meeting up with volunteer Susan Dozier, MD, in Austin. Dr. Dozier examined 28 participants, and found two suspected precancers and a suspected basal cell carcinoma. Several participants mentioned how a previous diagnosis of skin cancer shaped their understanding of the need for sun protection. A participant also shared that she attended a Destination Healthy Skin event in 2019 and signed up for email notifications.  And that’s what brought her back again in 2022! One couple drove five hours from McAllen, Texas, just to get a free screening. Now that’s determination! After flipping through some of our educational materials, one woman was shocked to learn that she could get sunburned on an airplane!

Some comment cards from our Austin event:

“Better access to advice on skin care and screening are great”

“Good to have it in the community. Appointments are usually in the future 2+ months away”

“Great contribution to the community”

“Informational, learned how to protect my skin”

Who’s Ready for Some Desert? (June 29-30)

Despite 110-degree heat, our two-day event at the Tempe Library in Tempe, Arizona, was one of our busiest events so far this year! A Fox 10 News crew showed up to interview our volunteer dermatologist Dathan Hamann, MD, for a live segment on Arizona Morning. Participants on their way to the library and nearby gyms spotted the RV and made sure they got their free skin exam. On day one, Dr. Hamann spotted 32 suspected precancers, four suspected squamous cell carcinomas and ten suspected basal cell carcinomas. According to our event manager, many participants had never seen a dermatologist before or had a screening and were very appreciative of the program.

The next day, Dr. Hamann’s brother, Carsten Hamann, MD, volunteered to perform screenings. He conducted 79 skin exams and identified 27 suspected precancers, seven suspected basal cell carcinomas, three suspected squamous cell carcinomas and one suspected melanoma. While some participants who happened upon the RV were library goers, others drove down after watching the evening news. And others told us that they heard about the screening event from the mayor!

Take a look at what Tempe is talking about:

“It means everything. I currently have no insurance. I had cancer removed 3 years ago from forehead. Thank you!”

“I want to set a good example for my daughters”

“Wonderful to have this to come to us in this very financially stressful time”

 “This is great and there needs to be more awareness. It’s challenging to find a dermatologist without waiting months for an appointment”

The Destination Healthy Skin RV will be stopping at YMCAs, libraries, vacation resorts, CVS pharmacies and other retailers as it makes its way around the country.

Check out the event schedule to find out where we are headed next.

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