I believe that a healthy patient-physician relationship is built on trust. Patients need to know that I have their best interest in mind at all times. I need to know that a patient will do their part in becoming well. A key component of that trust is allowing patients to be involved in their own care. Medicine is not a one-size fits all and there are so many treatments available in this day and age of medicine, making it difficult to sift through all of the options alone. I encourage and assist patients in making the decision that is right for them. These decisions must take into account many different aspects of a patient’s life: personal goals, lifestyle, and family. When patients are allowed to participate, trust is strengthened and success becomes more obtainable.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is diagnosing an early skin cancer that a patient was unaware of and being able to cure a patient of that skin cancer in my office. Or better yet, catching a precancerous lesion on a skin exam before it turns into an aggressive skin cancer. Patients often come in for one or two spots that they are concerned about; however, its typically the lesions that they haven’t even noticed that end up being more worrisome. I am grateful that more people have included full skin exams into their preventative health approach. It allows dermatologists to recognize risk for skin cancer and educate patients on prevention.