The Skin Cancer Foundation's mobile education program is set to cross the United States to both raise skin cancer awareness and provide free skin cancer screenings.
The 5th annual Destination Healthy Skin, a mobile education and screening program for skin cancer, starts next Friday, May 6th, in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Skin Cancer Foundation designed the project to help save lives by helping educated the public on the importance of early detection in skin cancer and how to prevent the disease through sun protection. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and cases of the disease continue to increase.
The RV has dermatologists who volunteer to provide free full-body skin cancer screenings in private exam rooms. Those who come in not only receive information about skin cancer warning signs and proper sun protection, but also product samples courtesy of program sponsors. The sponsors of the program this year includes CVS Pharmacy; EltaMD; DSM; Coolibar; EMD Serono and Pfizer; Genentech, a member of the Roche Group; an independent grant from Merck & Co., Inc.; and The Lynne Waxman Foundation.
Right now, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by 70 years old. When skin cancers are found and removed early, they are usually curable. The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99% in the United States.
That is why The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone visit a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam, in addition to practicing monthly head-to-toe self-exams. Having a daily sun protection strategy including habits like seeking shade, covering up with clothing, hats, and sunglasses, and applying sunscreen, can significantly reduce skin cancer risk.
“We’re excited to get back on the road in May, which is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and also when many Americans start spending more time outdoors, exposing their skin to damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation and a dermatologist in private practice in New York. “Destination Healthy Skin is one of our most important education programs—it’s a unique opportunity to make a face-to-face connection with people all over the country and spread our lifesaving messages about skin cancer prevention and the importance of early detection.”
So the program will reach the maximum amount of people, The Skin Cancer Foundation will document the RV’s journey on its website, SkinCancer.org, Sun & Skin News blog, and social media channel.
What to Expect During a Skin Cancer Screening
Staff members give each patient a form to fill out, show them to a private exam room where the patient will change into a gown. The dermatologist will examine the patient’s skin from head to toe. The physician 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 Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that patients remove nail polish and makeup in advance, let the physician know if there is a personal or family history of skin cancer and point out any spots that are new, changing, or unusual.
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 distribute educational materials and product samples.
To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, masks are required inside the RV. Participants who do not have a mask will be provided with one. Hand sanitizer is available and social distancing is encouraged. Exam rooms are disinfected between exams, and high touch surfaces inside the RV are sanitized routinely.
The Destination Healthy Skin RV will travel approximately 10,000 miles over 4 months, making its way around the country before heading to Texas in September for the final event of the season in Houston. The Foundation will host Destination Healthy Skinevents in 24 cities. A list of events is available at DestinationHealthySkin.org.
Destination healthy skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed April 26, 2022. https://www.skincancer.org/early-detection/destination-healthy-skin/