Mobile Education Program Will Visit Communities Around the U.S. to Raise Skin Cancer Awareness and Provide Free Skin Cancer Screenings
May 1, 2019 (New York, NY) — The Skin Cancer Foundation kicks off the third year of its mobile education and screening program, Destination: Healthy Skin, on Monday, May 13 in New York City. The program is designed to save lives by educating the public about the importance of skin cancer early detection as well as effective sun protection for skin cancer prevention.
Inside the Destination: Healthy Skin RV, local volunteer dermatologists will provide free full-body skin cancer screenings in customized private exam rooms. Participants will receive information about skin cancer warning signs and proper sun protection. This year for the first time, the Foundation will offer participants the opportunity to have a high-tech facial image scan to examine sub-surface sun damage, utilizing the Canfield® Reveal imager system. This is another opportunity to educate participants about the effects of cumulative sun damage and the importance of consistent sun protection.
With this program, the Foundation seeks to highlight the need for sun safety, regardless of activity or location, by visiting communities that represent various lifestyles. Destination: Healthy Skin events will be held in beach communities, mountain towns, and urban, suburban and rural areas. The Destination: Healthy Skin RV will travel approximately 10,000 miles over three months, making its way around the country before returning to the East Coast in August for the final event of the season in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Foundation will host Destination: Healthy Skin two-day events in 18 cities. A list of Destination: Healthy Skin events is available at DestinationHealthySkin.org.
The 2019 Destination: Healthy Skin program is made possible in part by generous support from Walgreens, EMD Serono and Pfizer, Shiseido and Genentech, a member of the Roche group. At each event, Walgreens specially trained beauty consultants and pharmacists will be on hand to distribute sunburn alert stickers, educate visitors on the importance of sun protection, provide recommendations for sun care and sunburn treatments and educate patients on medication that can cause photosensitivity.
“We’re excited to continue this beloved program as we work toward our goal of reducing the incidence and mortality of the world’s most common cancer,” says Skin Cancer Foundation President Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD. "This program is a free public health service that allows us to reach thousands of people in a short period of time. It’s an optimal way to educate the public about skin cancer and reach those who may not have the time or means to visit a dermatologist in-office.”
In the first two years of the program, the Foundation provided more than 2,000 free skin cancer screenings. Over 85 volunteer dermatologists identified more than 550 suspected skin cancers, while thousands of pedestrians learned about prevention and early detection.
The RV’s journey will be documented on the program website, the Foundation’s Sun & Skin News blog and social media channels so that people will be able to follow along, thus expanding the reach of the program beyond the communities visited.
Skin cancer is already the most common form of cancer in the United States, and incidence continues to rise. It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. When skin cancers are found and removed early, they are almost always curable. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent in the U.S. That is why The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone visit a dermatologist annually for a professional skin exam, in addition to practicing monthly head-to-toe self-exams, looking for any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous.
Dermatologists participating in the Destination: Healthy Skin program will be screening patients to identify the most common type of skin cancers and precancers including basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and actinic keratosis. Dermatologists will also be looking for rare but dangerous types of skin cancer such as Merkel cell carcinoma and acral lentiginous melanoma.
What to Expect During a Skin Cancer Screening
The participant is given a brief form to fill out and is then shown to one of the RV’s exam rooms. After the person changes into a gown, the dermatologist examines the patient’s skin from head to toe. The doctor notes any findings on the form and makes recommendations for next steps, which may include a formal visit to a dermatologist for a biopsy. To make the most of a screening, the Foundation recommends that participants remove nail polish and makeup in advance, let the doctor know if there is a personal or family history of skin cancer and point out during the exam any spots that are new or have changed.
The exam takes approximately 10 minutes. It’s best to arrive early, as screenings are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. At events where screenings aren’t available, staff will distribute educational materials and sun protection samples.
Editor’s Note: Interior and exterior images of the RV are available upon request.
About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit SkinCancer.org
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