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Free skin cancer screenings to be offered at Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON – Mark Rolfing is a longtime NBC Sports and Golf Channel analyst.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 salivary gland cancer. He knew doctors from MD Anderson through their work with the PGA Tour and he contacted them after his diagnosis to get in as a patient right away.

Now, as a survivor of cancer, he's become an advocate to end all cancers.

"Golfers are very vulnerable. I don't think in general they do a very good job of applying sunscreen because they don't like getting it on their hands, maybe. You have to have a sunscreen routine and for me that's to do it before I ever come to the course," Rolfing said.

MD Anderson physician-in-chief Dr. Thomas Buchholz said the public is invited for free skin cancer screenings on the course of the Shell Houston Open on Saturday. Physicians will perform free screenings near the 18th green.

"We have a private area where you can see (dermatologists) so it's no different than seeing a doctor in an office visit," Buchholz said. "It's important that people recognize the choices they make today may save their lives later."

Screenings take about 10 minutes and appointments are not necessary.

There are also eight sunscreen stations around the Shell Houston Open that are free for the public to use. And MD Anderson sponsored covered seating areas where golfers can take breaks in the shade.

Rolfing said because golfers typically play in direct sunlight and have these sensitive skin spots exposed, they have to be deliberate about applying sunblock.

"Almost the size of a golf ball is the amount that a person should put on but the most important thing when you begin the process ... you have to make sure you have total coverage," Rolfing said. "If you were to look right behind my ear here, I have a little place where I had to have a skin cancer removed and it was solely because I wasn't very detailed in where I applied the sunscreen and I consistently missed this area right behind my ear."

Free skin cancer screenings, courtesy of cancer prevention specialists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are happening on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.