By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A giant reminder about the importance of fighting skin cancer arrived Tuesday at Philadelphia City Hall.

It’s called Destination: Healthy Skin, an effort to save lives. They’re driving a 38-foot RV across the country, spreading the word about skin cancer and providing free screenings.

In two private rooms inside the RV, volunteer dermatologists screened patients with a simple visual check of the skin.

“I’ve never had it done,” Kyle Bechter said. “I’m actually very relieved. I was anxious going in, knowing I go to the shore. There are times I miss the sunscreen.”

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Skin cancer is caused by sun exposure, and rates have been skyrocketing. Getting sunburned just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer.

“Skin cancer is an epidemic, actually, in the United States,” Dr. Stephen Hess, a Philadelphia dermatologist, said.

Dr. Hess said everyone should have yearly skin checks.

“Really any age, any race, any location on the skin can be affected by skin cancer,” Dr. Hess said. “There’s a common misconception that skin cancer only affects older people, or people with fairer skin who have a history of sunburns, or can only occur in places where you have a lot of sun exposure.”

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When found early, skin cancer is highly curable.

Susan Manber had a rare and aggressive kind of skin cancer. She had to have part of her nose reconstructed.

“I have just finished my seventh and last surgery,” Susan said. “I love saying that.”

Avoiding sun exposure is the best way to prevent skin cancer. When you’re outside, be sure to always use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and re-apply it often.

 

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