The largest organ in the human body in both total area and weight is also the most visible. When disease strikes our skin, it is often there for everyone to see and leads to much suffering, physically and emotionally.
As a dermatologist with more than two decades of diagnosing and treating people ranging from virtually newborn to 100 years old, I’ve learned that spending time with my patient, learning his or her special needs and demands, is critical in my mission as a healer. It is easy to increase volume, because of the sheer numbers with so-called “skin conditions,” but dermatologists need to recognize the tremendous responsibility we have to these patients to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Take it from me, you can have a thriving practice without depriving patients of your time and attention.
Skin cancer is the most common of the cancers and, according to skincancer.org, strikes more people every year than the cancers of the colon, prostate, breast and lung combined. Invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in almost 74,000 new patients by the end of this year, the same source tells us, and the projected death toll from melanoma in 2015 is 9,940. Yet even as deadly as this kind of skin cancer is, the cure rate is even more impressive and, if diagnosed early enough, it approaches 100 percent. Because skin cancer is so prevalent and early detection is so critical, it is important to schedule a total skin exam with a dermatologist as part of your annual medical routine.
The importance of treating skin cancer is obvious, but dermatologists treat many more conditions than skin cancer such as skin allergies and infections, nail disorders and fungal infections.
Few of us get through life without some kind of skin problem, and many of us often hide it under long sleeves and pants legs. Too often it is something you can’t hide without wearing a mask.
Such is the case with acne, so often dismissed as something some of us have to accept during adolescence that will eventually become just an unpleasant memory. While it is true that acne is most common among teenagers, it is often relentless and, if not treated properly, persists for years. And although less common, acne can also appear for the first time well into your adult years. Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and other blemishes will heal, but it takes time. With the hope that comes with healing is the horror of new pimples and other acne issues flaring up. I make sure I discuss reasonable expectations of treatment with my patients so that they can achieve the best outcomes on both a physical and emotional level. These outcomes include clearer skin as well as healthier self esteems.
Medications and treatments ease the burden of skin conditions like acne, but I’ve found that devoting extra time to patients is an equally important part of the process in producing remarkably positive results.
.Posted by Dr. Barry Weiner:
Note: Dr. Barry Weiner is a Board-Certified Dermatologist whose practice, All County Dermatology, LLC, has offices in Little Silver and Howell, NJ.