Skin Cancer Institute supports Americans halfway around the world

The Arizona Cancer Center’s Skin Cancer Institute (SCI) is having a global impact.

Representatives of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, contacted SCI staff earlier this year asking for assistance in organizing a skin cancer screening for embassy staff, including civilians and military personnel. They located the Institute after doing a web search for information.

Susan A. Barry of the State Department and the Medical Unit –Baghdad said the Medical Unit wanted to increase awareness of the potential harmful effects of the sun.

“As you may imagine, the sun in Baghdad is very intense and there seems to be little concern for its deleterious effects,” she wrote, asking for educational materials and other related items.

Barry said the April 30 skin screenings were conducted by Army dermatologist Capt. Chris Collins, MD, of the 10th Army Combat Support Hospital (“Mountain Medics”) who volunteered his services. The Embassy physician, physician’s assistant and nurses organized and assisted at the skin screening. Barry reported that 72 people were screened at the embassy event and those with suspicious lesions were referred for follow up examinations.

“The launch of the Skin Cancer Institute’s website this year has brought about a noticeable increase in requests for information and health education materials. We are being recognized as a ‘go-to’ place for everything related to skin cancer,” said Robin Harris, PhD, MPH, Skin Cancer Institute deputy director.

“We are honored that our materials supported the efforts if the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to detect skin lesions and treat personnel,” Harris said.