(January 23, 2008Phoenix, AZ) - Thousands of marathoners readying for the recent P.F. Chang’s Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Phoenix learned how to incorporate sun safety and skin cancer prevention into their daily routine at the recent Health & Fitness Expo, thanks to a dedicated team of local dermatologists representing the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS). This local outreach, known as Families Play Safe in the Sun, was part of a 15-city, 3-year national tour made possible by a generous grant from the 3M Foundation, of which Phoenix was the 14th stop.
According to Suzanne Connolly, MD, Mayo Clinic (Arizona), and WDS Incoming President who has led this national campaign since its launch in July 2005, “Through the WDS community service campaign, Families Play Safe in the Sun, we aim to educate, encourage, and empower people of all ages and skin types to make a daily commitment to protect the skin, given the fact that skin cancer is the most common-- yet most preventable-- form of cancer in America.”
Jennifer Linder, MD, a Scottsdale dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon and Clinical Instructor for the University of California San Francisco Department of Dermatology, hosted the local volunteer effort, which offered free skin cancer screenings, sun damage assessments, sun safety tips and free sunscreen samples to eager health and fitness enthusiasts. Dr. Linder observed, “Many marathoners who visited our booth did not realize that it is necessary to apply one full ounce of sunscreen to the face and body at least 15 minutes before going outdoors, so we were glad we could get the word out on how to play safe in the sun.”
Highlights from the busy outreach event included:
- 7 WDS board-certified dermatologists conducted 226 free skin cancer screenings, with 31% of individuals screened referred for further diagnosis and 18% for biopsy of suspicious sites.
- Volunteers provided 195 sun damage assessments.
- 15,000 free samples of broad-spectrum sunscreen were distributed to the public.
- Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon presented a proclamation to WDS in recognition of the local effort to raise awareness about the importance of sun safety, particularly useful in this Southwestern region which is home to four of the top ten sunniest cities in the nation.
Phoenix dermatologists and WDS members who conducted the free skin cancer screenings included: Suzanne Connolly, MD, Lorna Fredrikson, MD, Jennifer Linder, MD, Susan Laman, MD, Katherine Lim, MD, Xuan Nguyen, MD, and Susan Pardee, MD. Additional volunteer support was provided by Amber Hadisoenarto (PCA SKIN), Vicky Reski (Johnson & Johnson) and Danine Summers (Medicis, The Dermatology Company.)
In addition to generous funding from the 3M Foundation, product donations have been provided by Banana Boat, Cabana Life, Coolibar, Del-Ray Dermatologicals, Johnson& Johnson, Ortho Neutrogena, Procter & Gamble, Skyrad, and Starberry, Ltd.
The final stop of the Families Play Safe in the Sun campaign tour will be announced soon.
The WDS campaign draws the organization’s 1,300 dermatologist members nationally to provide volunteer support in local communities to increase sun safety awareness and promote healthy skin practices among family members of all ages and skin types.
For more information, please visit www.womensderm.org or call 1-877-WDS-ROSE (937-7673).