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Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer los angeles’

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Celebs are not immune to cancer either!

Sunday, December 20th, 2015





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 »

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 4th, 2015

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

Citrus and Melanoma

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Recently there was a mention of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology which linked consumption of citrus with incidence of melanoma. Strangely, there was only a correlation with consumption of orange or grapefruit juice, not the fruit.

Studies like this just mean there is an association, not a causation. For instance, maybe if you looked at whether the participants owned a Kindle or not, perhaps some correlation would have been found. Does this mean the Kindle causes melanoma? No. Just probably a coincidence.

Frankly, I’m surprised this study was published. In the meantime, I think it’s safe to drink your juice. I’m more concerned about the link between Vitamin D supplementation and memory problems. I think it’s best to just get your level checked periodically and supplement periodically if needed. In the meantime, eat your dairy, fatty fish such as salmon, eel, tuna and sardines (in moderation), an egg yolk here or there, portobello mushrooms or fortified cereal.

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Ahhh, summer!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Please forgive my absence. It’s been a crazy month. I hope everyone is enjoying the spectacular June weather. Not much June gloom this year, but I’ll take temps in the mid-70’s forever!

We are transitioning many employees in the office this month, both medical and lab assistants. Many of our employees are moving on to graduate school, and we are welcoming many new faces. We are doing our best to train them properly. Thanks for your patience with this process. I must say, finding these gems in the mine has been quite a challenge this year. Never have we had so many flaky applicants. It really was disappointing. A lot of careless typos, regurgitated cover letters and poor etiquette from college graduates this year. I’ve never seen anything like it in the many years I’ve been doing this. I’m wondering if social media has just changed people’s behavior in the workplace. Nevertheless, I’m really proud of who we are sending off and who we are welcoming in, so I hope you enjoy getting to know my new assistants.

We’ve been spending a lot of time in our pool, and it reminds me to talk about sun protection in water. Water resistance in sunscreens is really important. I favor mineral based sunscreens (zinc/titanium) because they tend to last longer and usually do not sting the eyes. The term “water resistance” means that the sunscreen has been shown to last in 40 minutes of water. “Very water resistant” which is a term being phased out, means 80 minutes duration.

Our dog Gigi goes a little nuts when we are in the pool. She thinks we are all drowning. As a Belgian Malinois, it is her duty to protect us. This leads to incessant barking which echoes throughout Stone Canyon. The nice thing is that she is so worn out from “rescuing” us that it guarantees she is pooped for the rest of the day. She got 93 likes on Facebook from the Belgian Malinois enthusiasts. This may be almost as many Facebook friends as I have.

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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 »

Say it isn’t so!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Viagra has been linked to an increased incidence of melanoma. So amongst sudden blindness (sorry, I know that is not really funny, but I still find it hilarious when I hear the commercials) that little blue pill might accelerate the development of melanoma. Cialis may also do the same.

I asked a patient of mine this week if he took it because he developed 2 melanomas in one year. He said no, but he and his wife told me the backstory of how Viagra was developed for heart patients. I guess the non-placebo group had a hard time giving up their participation in the study! Another patient of mine produced the memorable commercials with the bathtubs. Let’s just say that subliminal advertising is alive and well as I confirmed!

There also has been a five-fold increase in melanoma incidence in Great Britain since the 1970’s.

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The amazing human spirit

Friday, April 4th, 2014

One day on Facebook, I caught wind of a page for a high school classmate of mine called “Cure Eric.” He was in all my classes. I remember a quiet, but always smiling guy who didn’t have a mean bone in his body. I learned he had become a recording engineer, had metastatic colon cancer, and had been suffering for 2 years. Watching his posts was just awe inspiring. While other people are posting pictures about food and their kids, Eric is posting about how he just found out he had new lung or brain mets, and was going to go to the doctor. He never felt sorry for himself, he just talked about how he was looking forward to learning more about what the doctors would do for him. He never failed to keep up his spirits in these posts, and thanked his doctors constantly. Every time we heard about another bout of lung mets, or brain surgery, my medical mind would say, “that was it” but Eric’s courage and positive spirit were truly amazing. He survived through some bouts of illness that defy logic, and I am convinced his fighting, upbeat attitude, even towards the end helped him survive longer and better. Sadly, he was hospitalized for pneumonia recently and passed.

I also recently made a home visit to my patient who was diagnosed with ALS a couple years ago. The last time I saw her she was lying down in a gurney in my office and she was having problems getting nutrition. She hugged me and I thought she was saying goodbye to me. That must have been nearly 8 months ago. The next thing you know, she is sitting up comfortably at home and has a sophisticated computer device set up to converse with me. She is still doing well, although she cannot walk or talk anymore. Life is mysterious and beautiful!

Speaking of mysterious, I had a weird run of 3 melanoma diagnoses in one week. Even the pathologist was surprised. Then there were 2 incidental basal cell carcinomas this week, I just happened to find them even though the patients came in for other reasons. Please don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out!

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Itraconazole for basal cell cancer

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

A study out from Stanford suggests that use of an oral antifungal drug called itraconazole may shrink basal cell cancers up to 24%. Unfortunately, not a complete home run, but interesting, nonetheless.

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A NY Times Rebuttal

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Did anyone read the NYT story on Mohs surgeons/dermatologists last Sunday? If you did not read it, don’t! I will summarize what it said in 1 sentence: Dermatologists are greedy and make too much money. On the FRONT PAGE!!

The woman’s story was pretty bad. Ironically it was the plastic surgeon that really overcharged her, yet the article focused on the dermatologist, whose charges only amounted to a fraction of the total bill. We rarely refer people out for repair unless it is absolutely necessary or the patient requests it.

Mohs surgery is a time consuming, laborious procedure in the sense that you are paying for the surgeon to do the operation, read the slide, the histotechnician to cut and stain the pieces (can be more than one hour of work). This does not include the reconstruction which can take nearly an hour. When I first went into practice, all repairs were paid in full. Now either the payment for the repair or the first
stage is cut in half. Reimbursements have gone down every year I have been in practice though our costs go up. Does she talk about that? Of course not!

We have not raised our prices in over a decade, though we have 5 figure rent costs, many employees with health insurance and parking, no compensation for medical waste pick up, insurance or material costs, the list goes on. When we are contracted with insurance companies, we make a deal to be underpaid in California. They decrease payments every year.

At least we provide a meaningful service, unlike the private health insurance companies, who make it a game to deny the doctor and patient as much as they can get away with, while becoming one of the most profitable enterprises with some of the best compensated CEO’s? Who is the bad guy here?

Anyway, the author woman, Elisabeth, has forever tainted my name! The entire derm community knows this lady by first name now.

On a lighter note, maybe if this doctor thing doesn’t work out I have a future in commercials. I went to my first audition the other day (I was on some random email list for non-union “real people”). I actually thought it would be funny to go. It was for a major personal care product campaign. The casting assistant told me I was gorgeous and begged me not to go (they had too many actresses and models show up) but they forgot to tell everyone that it would be up to 6 days of shooting (?!) I reluctantly walked out! This lady Elisabeth is turning me into a typical LA wanna be!!

Just kidding. I would never give up what I do, unless I win the lotto (and I don’t play that). I wish she could see the surgery I did the other day where I got splashed with blood all over. Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode, “Dermatologists are one step from the Clinique counter….oh darn…skin cancer!!”

As an addendum, Botox does not cost us $100. You cannot even buy the smallest bottle for less than $300. We do not make much on the first patient treated per bottle. You have to be a busy Botox provider to make it cost effective. This article was full of inaccuracies and clearly had an agenda to sensationalize.

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Posted in News, Skin Cancer, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Technology can be fashionable; Ultherapy update

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

I saw a cool new device that might come in handy for the ladies out there-A UV-reading device that was designed by a jewelry designer. These bracelets look cool and pretty without even without knowing what they are for. Don’t know how shatterproof they are though (I’m thinking about when I got plowed down skiing last year)…

Click on the link below:

Stylish and practical

So it’s been 2 weeks since my Ultherapy treatment. My skin feels a little tighter on my brow, MAYBE (and I am struggling here), but my skin looks more translucent (not good). Visibly I see no change thus far. One out of 3 people in the office noticed a change. Supposed to improve over the next 3 months? We’ll see!

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Posted in Skin Cancer, Uncategorized, laser | No Comments »

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