After a long winter, our Destination Healthy Skin (DHS) RV is back on the road for its sixth year. We kicked off our 2023 program in the beginning of May, our favorite month: Skin Cancer Awareness Month!
This year, we plan to visit 30 cities around the country to offer free skin cancer screenings, sun protection samples and educational materials.
So far, our incredible event staff and committed volunteer dermatologists have facilitated and performed over 281 skin cancer screenings. During 39 hours of screening time, our doctors have identified a total of 41 suspected cancers and precancers, including 11 suspected melanomas – and we’re just getting warmed up!
Check out the inside scoop from our Destination Healthy Skin events during May:
Kick off in the Constitution State (May 6)
For our first event of the year, the DHS RV arrived at the scenic Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut, on a cool Saturday morning. Volunteer dermatologists Marc Beuttler, MD, and Robin D. Evans, MD, performed skin checks in the private exam rooms on the RV, screening participants who decided to stop by during their day at the park. Many people expressed being incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get a screening, including a couple who had been waiting for us to stop in Connecticut for three years! They made plans to come see us as soon as they saw the 2023 schedule.
Heading Back to HQ (May 8 – 9)
Fun Fact: New York is not just the most populated city in the US, it’s also very diverse. Residents here speak around 800 different languages!
One of our most popular screening locations every year is New York City, where The Skin Cancer Foundation is based. On May 8, our fully staffed event team included Julie K. Karen, MD, Jane Yoo, MD, and Jesse M. Lewin, MD, who screened 90 participants over 7 hours. The doctors identified 18 suspected precancers and cancers. The RV was stationed at the Colgate-Palmolive building, the parent company of one of our partners, EltaMD. Many Colgate employees decided to get screened after an office email blast alerted them to our arrival.
As the day progressed, we met participants who found out about the screenings by searching online, people who were simply passing by and those who heard about the event on social media. One participant said he had a history of skin cancer but had been unable to visit a dermatologist due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our doctor screened him and identified two potential BCCs. We also had a participant previously diagnosed with a rare skin cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP). Although our physicians primarily detect the three most common forms of skin cancers (BCCs, SCCs and melanoma), they are always on the lookout for any rare suspected forms on skin cancers.
On day two, screenings began at 10:00 AM, but by 9:30 there was a queue of about 40 people ready to get their skin checked! About 350 attendees stopped by throughout the day to chat with event staff about skin cancer education and take-home sun protection samples. Volunteer dermatologists Jeffrey Weinberg, MD, and Elizabeth Goldberg, MD, screened 72 participants over six hours and identified seven suspected precancers and cancers.
Here’s what some of our New York participants had to say about getting screened:
“I want to prevent skin cancer and learn new ways to better care for my skin, gaining knowledge I can impart to my daughter.”
“I have had various markings that I have wondered about so it’s reassuring to have them checked.”
“My grandfather had melanoma and I have fair skin, so I am being really careful.”
“As I turn 30, it is important for me to take health screenings to prevent cancer and understand more about my body.”
Capitol Skin Checks (May 13)
We returned to the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, DC, to participate in the Learn2Derm event with Adam Friedman, MD, and his team of dermatology residents from the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Among the 45 event participants were people who worked for the local school district, attended nearby colleges like Howard and Georgetown, and church members who received text alerts for the screenings. Approximately 90 percent of the participants had never had a skin cancer screening before! Many also expressed their gratitude for having access to some great sunscreen samples and skin care products they would have been unable to afford otherwise. Here’s what they had to say:
“I am glad to get my skin checked, there are some moles that concern me.”
“Awesome. I’ve had concerns and questions about my skin but am super busy.”
“It’s a great opportunity!”
The Old North State (May 17 – 18)
Fun Fact: North Carolina grows more sweet potatoes than any other state in the U.S.
Next up was Charlotte Regional Farmers Market in North Carolina. The event team facilitated a full day of screenings performed by Susan Sanders, MD, and Scott Paviol, MD. Dr. Paviol spread the word about the event on a local news broadcast that morning and one of our program partners, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), gave us a shoutout on LinkedIn. The doctors conducted 23 skin checks and discovered nine suspected pre-cancers, two suspected basal cell carcinomas and one suspected melanoma.
On day two, dermatologists Elise Martin, MD, and Joanne Simpson, MD, performed 17 skin checks. We made plenty of new friends as shoppers from the farmers market happened upon us, and we met one person who said our monthly newsletter encouraged them to come by. One participant even drove hours to get a screening after her roommate told her about Destination Healthy Skin. Representatives from EltaMD and BMS also visited the event to say hello and capture some footage for Instagram.
From our participants in North Carolina:
“It’s very important to get screened.”
“I’m so grateful you came to Charlotte. I’ve been reading your newsletter for the past couple of years.”
“It’s important to me to be aware of any warning signs and symptoms.”
Arriving in Atlanta (May 25)
Fun Fact: There are seventy-one streets in Atlanta with some version of “Peachtree” in their name. In the years following the Civil War, locals considered living on one of these streets a sign of wealth.
We parked at 191 Peachtree Tower on a warm Thursday morning at the end of May. The event team set up the RV for a day of lifesaving screenings with our volunteer dermatologist Titilola Sode, MD. Dr. Sode performed 21 skin cancer screenings over six hours of screening. Some of our screeners included building employees, street traffic goers and a couple that saw us on the news the day before. We also met participants who knew us from last year and many new ones who had never been screened before.
Stay tuned for news from our June events in Florida, Alabama and Texas! The Destination Healthy Skin RV will be stopping at YMCAs, libraries, vacation resorts and parks as it makes its way around the country. The 2023 Destination Healthy Skin program is made possible by the support from EltaMD Skin Care; Bristol Myers Squibb; DSM Personal Care; Genentech, A member of the Roche Group; Sun Bum; Merck & Co., Inc.; The Lynne Waxman Foundation; and The Sunshine Foundation.