Sun & Skin News

There’s Something About May

By Isha Vedantam • June 15, 2022
Dr. Elizabeth Hale and Dr. Julie Karen near RV

Destination Healthy Skin 2022 kicked off on May 6, during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

As May flowers bloomed, we kicked off Destination Healthy Skin (DHS), our mobile screening and education program. Our RV is traveling around the country, and we’re working with local dermatologists to provide free skin cancer screenings in the communities we visit. It’s the first time since 2019 that the Foundation has held DHS events during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

During May, our volunteer dermatologists screened 263 participants across four states and Washington, DC, putting in over 39 hours of screening time. During the screenings, they identified 42 suspected cancers and pre-cancers, including eight suspected melanomas.

And we’re just getting started!

Thanks to our generous program sponsors, participants receive tote bags courtesy of DSM, sun-protective hats and neck gaiters courtesy of CoolibarCVS Pharmacy and EltaMD sunscreen products along with Skin Cancer Foundation educational materials.

Here are some highlights and photos of the places we visited and the people we met along the way.

The Constitution State (May 6-7)

On a cold, drizzly Friday, our dermatologists Maritza I. Perez, MD, and Ellen de Moll, MD, were ready to kick off Destination Healthy Skin in Stratford, Connecticut. The doctors conducted 19 exams and identified one suspected melanoma and two suspected basal cell carcinomas (BCCs).

In addition to screenings, participants learned the importance of sun protection, even on rainy days! One woman told us that skin cancer had taken a loved one from her. This personal experience made her especially grateful for the program and its focus on educating the public about sun safety.

Here’s some other feedback from Connecticut participants that reminded us why we continue this program year after year.

I spent so much time in the sun I always wondered if it damaged my skin. It means a lot to have this done today.”

I want to make sure I am aware of my skin changes.”

The Big Apple, New York City (May 10-11, May 23)

Our first New York City events broke attendance records! A total of 750 individuals stopped by the RV on one of our three full days in Manhattan.

On day one Jeremy Brauer, MD, and Adele Haimovic, MD, conducted 58 exams, identifying a suspected melanoma, four suspected basal cell carcinomas and two suspected squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).

The following day, our volunteer dermatologists Carin Gribetz, MD, and Jane Yoo, MD, conducted 41 screenings and documented a suspected melanoma, two suspected BCCS and a suspected SCC. Participants without insurance were especially grateful for the opportunity to get a free skin exam.

One woman told us she was sitting at her desk, felt a mole on her skin and decided she needed to make an appointment with her dermatologist. Then she walked outside for lunch and saw the RV! A perfect coincidence.

We returned to the Big Apple on May 23, a beautiful, sunny day. Three dermatologists, Jesse Lewin, MD, Elizabeth K. Hale, MD, and Julie K. Karen, MD, conducted a total of 53 exams. A woman who recently battled breast cancer was concerned about a spot which turned out to be a potential squamous cell carcinoma and she was relieved that she could get it checked.

Here’s what New Yorkers had to say about Destination Healthy Skin:

“This is a perfect way to be cautious about the importance of cancer and doing screening tests frequently.”

 “I think it’s good to get your skin checked.”

We think it’s a great idea, too!

The Cheesesteak State (May 16)

Next up, an event in Norristown, Pennsylvania where our volunteers Erum Ilyas, MD, and Lisa Carroll, MD, screened 27 people. Channel 10 News also stopped by to film a segment about the program.

Nudged by his concerned wife, a physician arrived at the RV to get screened. During the screening, our dermatologist identified three potential basal cell carcinomas that require follow-up biopsies.

Flag on the Hill (May 21)

The RV rolled on to Washington, DC where we partnered with the dermatology department at George Washington University School of Medicine at their Learn2Derm event. Our event team was greeted with food, drinks and a snow cone truck! The temperature was in the mid-90s, but inside our cool, air-conditioned RV Adam Friedman, MD, and his team of GW dermatology residents performed 50 exams.

Several participants stopped by after seeing The Skin Cancer Foundation’s bright yellow and green flags on the street corner. We’d also like to thank our participants for providing us with wonderful feedback.

“An opportunity for a screening I might not have had.”

“It makes me feel good that I am taking preventative measures against skin cancer.”

Garden State (May 24)

We ended the month with an event in New Jersey – our first since 2018. Adolfo Fernandez-Obregon, MD, and his resident screened nine participants in Clifton. A Skin Cancer Foundation staffer stopped by with his father-in-law who was anxious to be screened. Dr. Obregon identified a potential basal cell carcinoma on his skin.

Here’s more feedback from New Jersey participants:

“An important education to make good choices for me and my family.”

“Learning more about cancer prevention.”

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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Our Favorite Photos in May

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