Sun & Skin News

Bidding July a Goodbye: Destination Healthy Skin Update

By Skin Cancer Foundation • September 15, 2022

Powering to and up the west coast, our Destination Healthy Skin RV made its way across five more states in July. Along the way we provided 274 free skin cancer screenings! Our praise-worthy volunteer dermatologists discovered 93 suspected pre-cancers and nonmelanoma skin cancers as well as three potential melanomas. Here are some exciting updates from July!

Deep in the Desert (July 3)

We pumped the brakes on our bright and beautiful RV for a holiday weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Our dermatologist Michelle Goedken, DO, also known as Mrs. Arizona International 2022, screened 22 participants.

Fun Fact: Dr. Goedken’s pageant cause is “Healthy Skin is in” and she uses her platform to educate the public about skin cancer detection.

Many participants told us they found us on a local app that connects residents with their neighborhood events – we love when communities help us spread the word! Dr. Goedken was able to identify two suspected basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), a suspected squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and four suspected precancers during four hours of screenings. Our RV was set up at a CVS, and one store employee brought his family to get screened. Another woman pushed her husband, who had never been checked for skin cancer, to get screened. Dr. Goedken identified a possible BCC and an SCC on his skin.

“It’s great that it’s so easy. As a new mom, I have zero time for doctor appointments, but this was a no hassle way!”

“It’s wonderful that you provide this free to the community.”

“I have some spots that have needed to be checked out for years.”

Golden State (July 9 – 10)

In the bohemian beach town of Venice, Daniel Gross, MD, screened 33 people and identified a suspected melanoma as well as a suspected precancer.

One participant who just happened to walk by our RV shared that she was concerned about a few of her moles but was having trouble getting an appointment. She was relieved to find out that her moles were nothing to worry about and told us how grateful she was for the opportunity to get checked! We were visited by friends who had been planning for two months to stop by. A woman also shared that she wanted to make a skin check appointment that week but before she could do that, we “magically appeared!”

“I grew up on the equator so have always been anxious about skin cancer, so I really appreciate this opportunity without having to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.”

I got my last screening done when I was in high school, so I’m way overdue.”

“Hereditary skin cancer – so grateful for this screening!” 

Emerald City (July 16 – 17) 

FOX13 News featured our event on Good Day Seattle, which brought lots of people out to get screened. In fact, a FOX13 employee also showed up after receiving a company-wide email about the event. While one couple had been planning to stop by for the past two months, another man who had been searching for skin cancer screenings found us online two weeks before the event and decided to come.

Sean McGuire, MD, and Steven Greene, MD, performed 40 examinations. They identified 10 suspected pre-cancers, three suspected squamous cell carcinomas, 10 suspected basal cell carcinomas and two suspected melanomas.

“There is a misconception within the African American community that we can’t get skin cancer but I know it’s not true so I wanted to get examined.”

“Important for public health intervention.”

“This is a great service!”

Screening at 8,250 feet in Utah (July 23 – 24)

Our event team was thrilled to spend the day embraced by beautiful pine trees at the Sundance Mountain Resort. During nearly 12 hours of screenings, Jessica Collins, DO, Jessica Donigan, MD, and Jesse Jensen, DO, performed 115 skin cancer screenings! Together, they identified 61 suspected precancers, two suspected basal cell carcinomas and a suspected squamous cell carcinoma.

Although some of our participants were resort guests, there were a few who found us through Facebook events as they browsed for weekend activities. The local firehouse put up a flyer about the event, and a group of firefighters came by to get screened. And yet another screening participant shared that she had been searching for a dermatologist for two weeks and then happened to read about the event that morning in the local newspaper!

To make the day more interesting, as the team was setting up, the back bolts of the RV came off. Fortunately, Dr. Collins offered to call her husband, a welder, to come fix it – which he did! We are so grateful to them for coming to our aid.

“I’ve been putting off my dermatologist visit for a while, and I was just riding my bike right by you and it was a sign!”

“We’re on a hike and forgot our sunscreen, thank you so much!!”

“Skin cancer has been in my family for years. I have fair skin and would like to have clarity that my skin is healthy. Thank you!”

Three Hours from Yellowstone (July 28)

Last spring, Afton Cobb, MD, a dermatologist in Jackson, Wyoming, contacted us about volunteering for Destination Healthy Skin. She explained that she was seeing a lot of advanced skin cancers in her practice, and that many of these patients were coming to see her from rural areas outside of Jackson, sometimes driving 2 to 3 hours to get to her! Dr. Cobb wanted to hold an event in one of these communities that have very limited access to dermatologists. We worked with her to plan our first Destination Healthy Skin in Wyoming in the small tourist town of Lander.

Lander grandly advertised our arrival in local media – Mayor Monte Richardson even posted about the event on his Facebook page! Shoutout to the Wyoming Cancer Coalition for promoting the event on social media as well as volunteering at the event.

Dr. Cobb and her colleague Tyler Quest, MD, who practices in Casper, Wyoming,examined 66 participants and discovered 36 suspected precancers, 10 suspected basal cell carcinomas and a suspected squamous cell carcinoma.

One woman drove 20 miles to get screened, and two people who had been hiking from the New Mexico border also came in to get checked.

Fun fact: Our amazing volunteer dermatologists, along with some of their office staff, drove to Lander the night before the event and stayed together in an Airbnb. The day after the screenings, they went fishing!

“This is awesome that you travel around to offer free screenings.”

“Could potentially be lifesaving!”

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”

“Thanks, great for a yearly checkup.”

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.

Support the journey.

Our Favorite Photos in July


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