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Posts Tagged ‘mohs surgery santa monica’

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Skin Cancer Awareness month

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

HAPPY PLACE


YUM

Skin Cancer Awareness month is coming to an end and another Don’t Fry Day has passed. Shielding your skin from the sun, however, is a year-round project here in LA. I cannot emphasize to you enough how important it is to wear a hat, sunscreen and get regular exams. Even though younger people may not notice any problems before their 50’s, these problems do accelerate as we get older especially in those with any Celtic heritage. That being said my patients are of all ethnicities and skin types. Many people who think their “Mediterranean” skin will protect them seem to forget that their heritage may have other skin types that make them more susceptible to skin cancer. Even people with Asian and African-American backgrounds can get skin cancer. It is very common in those with HIspanic backgrounds as well. In ethnic skin types, I see these cancers being missed until they’ve gotten to a substantial size. I’ve caught quite a few melanomas on routine exam even though these patients had no prior history, no other skin cancers and normal exams in the past.

I have not been as active on this blog for many months but hope to get back into it. I’ve been more active on my Twitter account @drshim_derm which I never thought would be enjoyable but I’ve found some great people to follow. I only started that to follow my kid’s classroom not realizing it would be my practice’s main source of social media. I hope you can follow me there as well! I plan to post at least once to twice a month here as well though! I’ll have to find weird moments to do it, like at 4 in in the morning. This I think, is becoming my new normal. I’m only awake now because I’ve been worried sick that my cat got eaten by a coyote while we were out of town. We looked everywhere for her this afternoon, but alas, she came out of nowhere at 3 in the morning to welcome us back and now cannot stop talking to me!

We paid a visit to San Francisco where I lived way back when. My kids really did not want to go, but I was touched that one of my girls edited my photo. I guess she had a good time! I highly recommend a trek out to the Sutro baths where there is a new parking lot and visitor’s center, have this incredibly awesome Little Gem salad at Sutro’s in the lower level of the Cliff House. Make a trek for ice cream at Swenson’s and if you have energy, take a walk at Tennessee Valley trail in Marin, a flat, but 1 hour long walk each way. The hike is too long for most elementary school kids (I think I’ve turned my kids off from hiking, even longer than Runyon) but I did see quite a few people out with their kids. The path is mainly, but not entirely paved, and not too far from the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley where I recommend you sit in a booth in the bar area.

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Are you wearing your hat these days? And the Two Degrees of Dr. Richard Bennett and Elisabeth Shim

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Kudos to Dominic Purcell for showing how it is done:
This is how it's done

A little over a year ago, Dr. Bennett was mentioned twice in the international news, the Daily Mail UK, for his work with two actors on network TV. They wanted to show everyone how skin cancer is so common. Today I found out I took care of a teacher at our daughters’ school over a decade ago. How’s that for Back to School Night? I even found a basal cell cancer on Santa Claus! (OK I can’t tell you the details on this one, but trust me, it’s true!) Everyone in LA is 1 or 2 steps removed from our office, I think. It’s better than Kevin Bacon! But Kevin can win this contest if we all make better use of our hats, zinc oxide-based sunscreens and our local dermatologist to screen us for precancers before they need us.

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Posted in Comedy, Entertainment, Mohs surgery, Skin Cancer, sunscreen | No Comments »

So the compliments keep coming…

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

I keep getting told that “you look good ” “you changed your hair”. No, but thank you! My brows are lifted! I must’ve really needed that laser eye lift!

It was a pleasant surprise to get an update on my review paper of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma which was published 7 years ago. It has been cited by 135 other articles! Ask me how we can prevent this situation. It is not common but unfortunately, there are at least a few people with it every year. It’s very rare that women get them, but last year I did see the second woman of my career that had a SCC spread to her lymph nodes. The first patient I had met was mismanaged by a medical group in town and had her tumor treated numerous times without cure. She couldn’t talk or swallow by the time she met me. It was too late. The second lady had let the tumor grow too long and just had some bad luck.

Typically, the average SCC that spreads to the lymph nodes in my practice is an older white male who has had previous treatment of the lesion with radiation or liquid nitrogen. Size of the tumor, aggressive pathology, a delay of treatment and location on the upper half of the head or back of the hand are higher risk factors in my experience, and is backed up by research.

There are ways of avoiding this situation! Mainly, wear a hat and a zinc oxide-based sunblock such as Verdure. Get frequent exams and examine your own skin by looking and feeling. Talk to me about options for treating precancers that we can’t even see or may be too numerous to treat. And most of all, don’t delay seeking help.

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Back from Utah!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Thank you for allowing me to take a week off! It was fun, though not very relaxing (taking care of 6.5 year old twins all by myself for 6 days-am I crazy?)

The weather was perfect. 40-50 degrees and it snowed every day. We secured a fabulous convenient condo two blocks to Deer Valley and I hope to stay there again-let me know if you want the referral. One of my daughters wanted to try snowboarding, so we went to Park City Resort-had not been in 21 years since I was an intern in Seattle when I took a trip by myself around April (and remember the slush). Taken over by Vail Resorts, the prices are steep and the service and facilities did not match up. It took an hour to get skis compared to no wait at DV, so definitely consider renting from one of the many shops on site in the mall or use one of the ski butler services. However, the ski conditions were great and the ski school for kids was also good.

However, nothing compares to Deer Valley when it came to service. I must say they have some of the KINDEST employees on the planet. Maybe it is their age/maturity, but these elderly sweethearts went the extra mile to carry all of our skis up to storage, to look for my kid’s gloves when she forgot them at school, and took the trouble to find us downstairs eating yogurt. They have a true love for the sport, the resort, and just want you to have a good time (and they take pity on moms who are by themselves schlepping all the equipment around!). The soup and salads are great at Empire Canyon Lodge as well. For the non-skiers, it’s just behind the Montage and can be reached by car.

I had an amusing time with all the powder this year. I’m a horrible powder skier and got a little too confident after making it down a run I had trouble with last year. For the record, double blue, such as Orion, at DV can mean super steep moguls. I could be wrong, but in Colorado those are always black. I know my limitations and took off my skis and had a peaceful, though exhausting walk through the trees back to Supreme-I had fantasies of some guy coming to my rescue and carrying my skis! (This actually happened once in a back bowl at Vail). I need to either take lessons or just keep being a groomer girl. You can weigh in next time you see me, but given what I do for a living, please talk me out of my inherent drive to go down difficult runs!

The trip was capped off by a new kiddie snowmobiling feature at Gorgoza Park, the best children’s book and clothing store I’ve ever been to (Children’s Hour in SLC-absolutely a must for moms and grandmas-unique stuff from Europe), and the fabulous young guy who works at Pei Wei at the airport who made my month by telling me “You’re very pretty!” when I was just meaning to order some beef with broccoli kiddie meals. OK, before you think he was trying to hit on me-he’s gay and that makes it all the more lovely. I would’ve liked to have stolen him for a personal assistant/yes man at that very moment had I had the option!

I have a new look-been rocking my glasses a lot lately, cut my hair and continue to maintain my skin with my own products. So exhausted lately, not wearing eye makeup, and somehow everyone says I look like a kid (?!). I take a lot of inspiration from some of my patients, who are 77-92 years young-these amazing women have wonderful energy, are funny and have great fashion sense. You know who you are-my heroes!

It’s been very busy in the office. Surprising since it’s April and if you look at the restaurants in LA lately, they are pretty darn empty. I’ll be taking about a week a month off every month until the end of the year (except maybe September), so please call and plan ahead so you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks also to the kind patients who have lifted me up into the Top 10 Santa Monica dermatologists on Yelp. I think Yelp is an awful concept for professional services, but I will take it!

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Posted in Juvederm, Mohs surgery, Restylane, Skin Cancer, laser | No Comments »

Top Restaurants? Top Doctors!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

In case you missed it, the January Issue of Los Angeles Magazine featured both Dr. Bennett and me in the SuperDoctors Dermatology list. And the Top Restaurants in LA!

I am always grateful to my colleagues for nominating us. I am also appreciative of serving on the SuperDoctors Blue Ribbon Panel, which means that I have been nominated so many times, that I get to serve as a judge myself to hone down the list. I’ve served on this panel for 3 years in a row.

Our staff also deserves a shout out for all of their hard work and dedication to patient care. We are very lucky to have such energetic, courteous and caring individuals to work with us on our team in order to take care of you.

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Celebs are not immune to cancer either!

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

HE MUST BE REALLY SECURE WITH HIMSELF....REALLY!!

EVEN COWBOYS GET THE BLUES

CLICK HERE FOR DOMINIC PURCELL\'S STORY

CLICK HERE FOR JESSE TYLER FERGUSON\'S STORY

It’s been a big week here at Bennett Surgery Center. It is always a pleasure to be appreciated, but to be appreciated for your work in a public way is very gratifying. Kudos to Dr. Bennett for being recognized for his dedication to quality care by not only one, but two, celebrities last week in the national and international news. Both stories went, as they say, viral once both gentleman spoke of their stories on Instagram. Skin cancer should be news because it is so common.

We have taken care of a number of celebrities and public figures in our office. Of course, many choose to stay anonymous which is understandable, but to have the bravery to reveal their problems, to assure many others who have the same problem that everything will be OK, and to raise awareness for many others who might not even know yet that they have the same health issues, is tremendous. Dominic Purcell even reminded everyone in his Instagram post that his friend Hugh Jackman also had skin cancer treated with Mohs surgery.

Thank you so much to both Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Dominic Purcell for their courage to come forward with their own experiences with skin cancer-the cancer that 1 out of 5 Americans will probably face sometime in their lifetime! Who only knows how many more skin cancers will be found because of their coming forward.

And, by the way, we do give out 3M Micropore brown paper tape to our new patients, so your bandage doesn’t have to scream “Hi There!!” as much! Mr. Ferguson demonstrates the pressure dressing that you will go home with for the first 24 hours to reduce swelling and prevent postoperative bleeding, while Mr. Purcell shows how a single layer bandage can be used the next day….We even had someone go on Good Morning America with a bandage on their cheek. So own it, work it, like these two! #healthyego #selfconfidence

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Posted in Comedy, Mohs surgery, News, Skin Cancer, sunscreen | No Comments »

Sorry for the absence!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Sorry for not posting a blog for months. It started with my girls’ bday party planning, and somewhere it morphed into the elementary school search.

A lot of you have been asking when Verdure sunscreen will be available again. We are really sure it will be March/April 2015. Thanks for your patience.

I hope you will enjoy getting to know my new assistants Rosa and Tracy. Once again, I have made the USC and UCLA crowds happy.

Mistakenly, I was omitted by Pasadena Magazine as a Top Doctor in Dermatology this year when the issue was published. Their editors were notified of this error. Once again, you will see my name in Los Angeles magazine as a SuperDoctor this January. Thanks again to my colleagues who have bestowed Dr. Bennett and me with this honor.

A friendly reminder that I will be out of the office as usual Thanksgiving week and between Xmas and New Years. Cosmetic treatments and appointments are very popular around this time of year so plan accordingly. The Mohs surgery schedule is also filling up, so if you decide to postpone your surgery until after the holidays (not recommended for SCC or melanoma), please make careful note of the exact location of your biopsy site and take multiple pictures with your cell phone or ask your referring dermatologist to take a picture and consider a diagram.

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Posted in Botox, Juvederm, Laser Hair Removal, Mohs surgery, Restylane, Skin Cancer, acne scar treatment, acne scars, fractionated laser, fraxel laser, laser | No Comments »

Restylane, Juvederm really do last

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

How do I know? Our practice has the largest series to date of incidental hyaluronic acid filler found during Mohs surgery years after placement. This study was presented at the recent Annual Meeting of the American College of Mohs Surgery in Phoenix last weekend. One of my patients had filler put in her lips five years prior!

That being said, patients are often afraid of looking crazy after filler. After the Oscars, which I usually do not watch, I kept hearing about Kim Novak. OK, don’t know who she is, but I later caught a clip of her on TV. Oy! It reminded me of the movie Mask. I can assure you that I keep patients looking like themselves. The best cosmetic doctors have patients who do not look done. Unfortunately in LA there tends to be a strangely unnatural aesthetic which I don’t subscribe to. Most patients only need 1-4 syringes of filler, the younger you are, the less you need. I allow the patient to see themselves as we go along to make sure we are on the same page.

I get it though. Mid-life crises, anti-aging procedures and relationships were the dominant topic of conversation in Phoenix (I reassure you, I also did learn a lot about cutaneous oncology, but that might bore you). The best part of going to the meeting was the traditional slumber party with my 2 good friends. No Wedding Planner movie in the background-this time the Golf Channel. I diagnosed more orthopedic injuries from Cipro, saved my friend’s husband’s vision, played marriage counselor, and got helpful golf tips. I am putting Korean LPGA women to shame, I am just learning now, but at least I can make contact with the ball most of the time and drive it about 90 feet. Mini golf, anyone? I rock at that…

Saving people from blindness? This blog spans more than dermatology. If you know anyone with high myopia (translate into “blind as a bat”) they are at high risk for a spontaneous retinal detachment and should be examined annually by a general ophthalmologist or retinal specialist. Sudden floaters or flashing of lights are an eye emergency. Otherwise you face placing your head down in a special chair for 6 weeks, no plane rides, and possible permanent vision loss. Fortunately, I had mine caught early on a routine exam. My friend’s husband was trying to play his own doctor, and was given the advice to come back in 3 months. I prodded him to see a retina specialist. Luckily, I met him a long time ago and he is more apt to listen to me than his own wife (hence the counseling).

I watched more TV than I had in months. CNN is still talking about the downed plane, Fox News is still talking about Benghazi. I guess I’m not missing anything? Just kidding. Our news channels are embarrassing at times. I was just happy to get away from watching shows about aliens on H2. Sadly, there may be more substance there!

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Posted in Juvederm, Miscellaneous possibly useless knowledge, Mohs surgery, Restylane, Skin Cancer, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Spot your own skin cancer

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

As I was reviewing my collection of research articles, I came across an abstract that was presented by some colleagues. They found that most skin cancers they operated on in their practice were discovered by the patient themselves! Get to know what your skin looks like so you can find the subtle changes. Besides the obvious, check your feet, your privates (epidemic of genital warts among my young patients), and go get your eyes and retinas examined by an ophthalmologist if you have had a lot of sun exposure or have a lot of moles. Let a friend or loved one check your back, or if you don’t have anyone, let me do it! It is always best for the dermatologist to do an annual total body skin exam if you have never been examined, or you have a personal or family history of skin cancer.

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Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

May is the month of Melanoma Awareness and Don’t Fry Day. The latter day was created by Dr. Jeff Ashley through his non-profit organization Sun Safety for Kids. This organization promotes sun safety awareness to children and their schools. I sit on the executive board of this organization. If you know of any teachers who would be interested in educational materials for their students or any members of the PTA who are on their school safety committees, please have them visit sunsafetyforkids.org

Although we all tend to protect ourselves more during the summer months, a friendly reminder that even UVA rays penetrate through clouds. The scary thing is that we are all exposed to flourescent lighting and now, UV-C lighting in our workplace and home, and we tend to forget our constant exposure in these settings as well.

At the same time, I have read that the JAMA has published that surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancers may not be beneficial for certain elderly patients. While I agree that treating a skin cancer on someone who has a life expectancy of less than one year may not make sense, we have treated a number of very elderly patients in our practice and have contributed to their well-being and comfort. Dr. Bennett recently saw a 108 year old, who saw him when she was 98, asking if her skin cancer should be treated! Today I spoke to a patient who lost 2 friends not to melanoma, but to squamous cell carcinoma. Dying from SCC is not a pleasant way to go, particularly of the head and neck. In some cases it is miserable and difficult to watch someone losing the ability to chew, speak, talk and swallow. What I am afraid of is our loss of access to a good procedure like Mohs surgery which, while expensive, does provide the highest rate of cure for skin cancer treatment. Mohs surgery is not necessary for all tumors in all locations, at the same token. An ethical and competent dermatologist should be able to steer one in the right direction when it comes to treatment. Make sure you know all of your options and why a treatment may be recommended to you. I have seen cases where Mohs surgery should have been done, and had not been recommended, to the opposite, where Mohs was probable overkill, and should only have been done if the patient had chosen that option.

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Posted in News, Skin Cancer | No Comments »

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