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Free Skin Cancer Screenings

A mobile exam room is making its way across the country

Skin Cancer Summer Initiative

Skin Cancer Foundation

Men are more likely to get skin cancer than women, but everyone should get checked.

En español | In an effort to catch the most common cancer in the United States, the Skin Cancer Foundation is on the road. Destination: Healthy Skin aims to educate people about skin cancer and offer ways to better protect your body with sunscreen. The group will also offer free skin cancer screenings when a roving exam room makes approximately 50 stops in 22 cities this summer.

While self-exams are recommended monthly, it’s also important that a doctor examines your skin annually. According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71,943 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2013. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer. When you break down the diagnoses, men are more likely to get melanoma, with 42,430 men and 29,513 women diagnosed in 2013. The number of melanoma cases will increase by 14 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to new estimates.

Early detection is key. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Despite this somewhat promising fact, 9,394 people died from melanoma in 2013. The fatality rate for men was nearly double that of women, according to the CDC.

Health experts and the CDC explained why skin cancer might be more common in men:

  • Men tend to wear their hair shorter than women, and it also thins earlier, exposing their scalp.
  • Men spend more time outside over their lifetimes than women.
  • Women’s personal care products, such as moisturizer and makeup, often contain sunscreen, while many products for men don’t.
The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation selected its cities to stop by based on various lifestyles and include beach communities, mountain towns and urban, suburban and rural areas. The free screenings, which will be conducted in private exam rooms in a specially equipped RV, will take approximately 10 minutes. Doctors will screen your full body, including areas people commonly miss on self-screenings, such as behind your ears or the back of your neck, which can be hard to check in a mirror.

The RV tour kicked off June 5 in Massachusetts and continued to New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Georgia; Florida; and Texas. Organizers reached out to AARP in early July and said a number of people attended the event after reading this article. The free screenings continue through August, and dates have been updated for some of these cities:

  • Phoenix – July 7-8
  • San Diego – July 10-12
  • Los Angeles – July 14-17
  • Sacramento, Calif. – July 20-21
  • Portland, Ore. – July 25-27
  • Seattle – July 29-31
  • Boulder, Colo. – Aug. 4-5
  • Denver – Aug. 6
  • Bentonville, Ark. – Aug. 11-12
  • Kansas City, Mo. – Aug. 16-18
  • Evanston, Ill. – Aug. 22-23
  • Indianapolis – Aug. 26-27

Visit Destination: Healthy Skin for more information on screening locations.

Dermatologists recommend that you get a skin screening annually, but if you are at greater risk for skin cancer you should be checked every six months. And if you notice a change in a mole, see a dermatologist immediately.

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