TAMPA, Fla. — Moffitt Cancer Center’s annual skin cancer screening at Clearwater’s Pier 60 returns this summer on Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It was at this event two years ago that Troy Johnston learned of his melanoma and immediately underwent treatment.

Johnston is convinced that trip to the beach saved his life. Shortly after moving to Central Florida, Johnston’s wife saw a Facebook post announcing Moffitt’s annual skin cancer screening event. She urged her husband to attend and have experts look at a suspicious mole she had noticed a few months before their move from the Pacific Northwest.

It was soon after that Johnston found himself undergoing treatment for melanoma. Today, he’s cancer free.

“It absolutely saved my life,” Johnston said. “If my wife hadn’t seen that post and if she hadn’t convinced me to travel to Clearwater, I might not be sitting here today.”

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer, making it the most common form of cancer. This year alone, doctors will diagnose nearly 5.5 million people with the disease, but early detection can save lives at any age.

“Skin cancers, including melanoma, are right there on the surface and that means we have the opportunity to find them early when treatment is least invasive and potentially most effective,” said Vernon Sondak, M.D., chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt. “We love the Florida sunshine, but the sun is not always our friend. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and get your skin checked at least yearly. The Mole Patrol® is our chance to take this message to the people at Clearwater Beach. This will be our 22nd straight year doing free skin cancer screenings down at Pier 60, and we invite everyone to come down for one of our team to look you over.”

In 1996, Moffitt created the Mole Patrol®, a free mobile skin cancer screening program made up of physicians and midlevel practitioners who all specialize in skin cancer or dermatology. Since its inception, the Mole Patrol has screened more than 16,000 people and recommended thousands receive follow-up care. The Mole Patrol is once again offering free skin cancer screenings on July 28 at Pier 60. New this year, free head, neck and oral cancer screenings will also be available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Each year, more than 55,000 Americans are diagnosed with head, neck and oral cancers. The majority are caused by tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption or ultraviolet light exposure. And with the recent increase in oral cancer diagnoses related to human papillomavirus infections, early detection is more important than ever.

In addition to the screenings, experts will give out free samples of sunscreen, lip balm and educational materials.

Download B-Roll from previous Mole Patrol events here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uzwuo056bhwdpji/SpringSwing16_B-Roll_SOTs.mp4?dl=0

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube