Many of our patients have similar questions about dermatology and diseases of the skin, hair and nails. If the answer you are looking for is not listed, please give us a call at 850.474.4775 and a nurse will be happy to assist you.
I have been referred to the Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group for a suspicious lesion.
Now that your dermatologist or primary physician has referred you to us, it is important that we prepare you for your appointment. For an initial consultation appointment, you can expect to be in our office for approximately one hour. Your surgeon will meet with you one-on-one, review your records, perform an exam and make recommendations regarding treatment.
If your referring physician has not previously done so, a skin biopsy may be performed with additional arrangements for surgery if necessary.
Can I see a surgeon without being diagnosed with skin cancer?
Our surgeons devote a majority of their time to Mohs and reconstructive surgery. We are happy to see any patient who has concerns with a lesion. Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group does provide routine skin health screenings through our Henghold Skin Health Screening Centers. Our goal is to diagnose skin cancer at an early, curable stage. Regular skin health screenings are an important part of maintaining healthy, disease free skin.
What insurance providers do you accept?
If you have insurance, we will be happy to do the billing for you. Insurance co-pays are due on the day of your visit. If you have any questions regarding your co-pay amount please contact your insurance provider. We currently accept Medicare, Railroad Medicare, Florida Blue, Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama, Aetna PPO, Tricare Standard, Tricare For Life, Tricare Prime, CIGNA, First Health Network, HNA, CCN Network, Humana Gold Choice PPO, PHCS, SouthCare, United Health Care, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Blue Advantage. If you do not see your insurance provider listed, please call our office to inquire about coverage.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in humans and is usually caused by an overexposure to ultraviolet light (e.g., sun and tanning beds), although some cancers do occur in areas of the skin not typically exposed to sunlight. There are three common types of skin cancer that we treat at Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group: Melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Basal Cell Carcinoma. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer and is increasing in frequency at an alarming rate. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer and can be very disfiguring. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most frequently diagnosed form of skin cancer.
What are the most common warning signs of skin cancer?
The most common sign is a new lesion that develops suddenly and may be growing, itching, bleeding and/or causing pain, or any change in a preexisting skin lesion. If you see the following irregularities (ABCDE) in current skin lesions, see a dermatologist immediately.
1. Asymmetry - One half is not the "mirror image" of the other
2. Border Irregularity - Notched or ragged edges
3. Color - Multiple colors in the same lesion or a color change in a preexisting lesion
4. Diameter - Bigger than 6 millimeters
5. Evolving - Change in the lesion's color, shape, or size
What should I look for when choosing sun screen?
With the incidence of skin cancer on the rise, wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin. When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, several factors should be considered before choosing a brand:
1. Find the term "broad spectrum" on the label - Broad spectrum protects you not only from burning rays (UVB), but also protects your body from wrinkle and melanoma cancer-causing sun rays (UVA). If there is no mention of broad spectrum on the bottle, check for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These two compounds are true sun blockers that provide premium protection from the sun's rays.
2. Look for a high SPF number on the label - SPF, sun protection factor, is a way to tell you how long the sunscreen will protect the body from burning. The lower the number, the shorter time you can spend in the sun. A higher numbered SPF is better not only for the increase in your time out in the sun, but the protective filter in the higher SPF sunscreens helps block a higher percentage of burning rays from damaging your body.
3. Apply at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply often - Regardless of SPF number or protective qualities, no sunscreen blocks 100% of the sun's harmful rays. To be safe, especially after swimming or exercise, it is important that you reapply the sunscreen frequently (at least every two hours), even if the sunscreen is water resistant.
4. Layer the sunscreen - When applying the sunscreen, it is important to apply two coats. The majority of the time people apply sunscreen, they don't apply enough of the sunscreen to get full protection. By sticking with this method, you are much more likely to get the labelled SPF benefit.
5. Pay special attention to your body - The number one location for skin cancer is the nose. Skin cancer also affects other sensitive areas. Make sure you apply sunscreen to your hands, feet, ears, lips, and nose in addition to the rest of your face and sun-exposed body.
How do I protect myself from skin cancer?
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to take preventative measures. Every month, you should inspect your entire body for any skin changes and routinely visit your dermatologist for a complete skin examination. In addition, you should:
- Avoid the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
- Wear protective clothing (e.g., sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats, UV-protective apparel)
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin frequently
- Avoid tanning parlors and artificial tanning devices
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized surgical technique for skin cancer removal. Learn more about Mohs here.
Why is fellowship training important?
The Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group is committed to providing the best care possible. It is important to know that not all doctors performing Mohs surgery have received the necessary training.
To be part of the Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group, a surgeon must be Mohs fellowship-trained. Physicians who have completed an approved American College of Mohs Surgery fellowship possess the skills and expertise to perform Mohs Surgery at all levels of complexity.
In order to receive this distinction, a physician must complete a one or two year fellowship program that includes extensive training in Mohs surgery, pathology, and reconstructive surgery. This is after completing medical school, an internship and a residency in dermatology or a related field. This level of formal education makes Mohs fellowship-trained surgeons true skin cancer experts.
What is our care philosophy?
We are Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group. We are defining excellence in our field and emerging as the dominant name and premier provider of Mohs and reconstructive surgery along the Gulf Coast. Our success is built upon our reputation for caring for our patients the way we would want to be cared for ourselves.
Patient-centered care is not just a phrase to us. It defines our medical philosophy. Our patients and their families come first to every member of our care team.
Because we understand the psychological and physical stress that our patients may experience, our state-of-the-art facilities are designed with a human touch. We focus on reducing stress through providing a comfortable care environment and simplifying the patient care experience - from consultation to discharge.
What should I do before my appointment?
If you are a new patient, the first step after you schedule your appointment is visiting our New Patient portal. If you are coming in for a consultation, make sure you have at least an hour scheduled out of your day. If you are having surgery performed, we will provide specific instructions and guidelines for you. In addition, be prepared to spend the entire day with us, as Mohs Surgery is an important and time consuming process for treating your skin cancer.
What should I do after treatment or surgery?
After your treatment or surgery, it is very important that you keep the area clean and limit your exertion. This will allow your body the chance to help the wound heal quickly on its own. For specific instructions following your surgery or treatment, we have provided you a comprehensive list of guidelines to follow during the healing process.
How often should I get screened for skin cancer?
Many factors can influence how often you should be screened, such as personal or family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma. At your initial consultation we will determine your visitation schedule based on your overall sun exposure. A good rule of thumb is to see a medical professional and have them examine your skin at least once a year. You should make regular appointments to have a comprehensive skin health screening at one of our Henghold Skin Health Screening Centers. Our team of skilled professionals believe that regular visits to an accurate and early detection center is the best safeguard against skin cancer. It is important that you check your body thoroughly once a month as part of a routine process.
Do you have any educational resources for me?
Henghold Skin Health and Surgery Group is a firm believer in providing you with comprehensive care, including educational resources. Having these materials available for the public is important for providing a patient-centered level of care. We have helpful methods for preventing skin cancer in addition to information for new patients, a list of frequently asked questions provided as a resource for you, and links to other educational websites, click on these links for more information: American College of Mohs Surgery, American Academy of Dermatology, and the Skin Cancer Foundation.
What is the difference between a plastic surgeon excising my cancer versus a Mohs surgeon?
A Mohs surgeon performs the role of both surgeon and pathologist throughout the treatment process. In addition, a fellowship trained Mohs surgeon is a true skin cancer expert with the majority of their training directed towards the diagnosis and management of skin cancer. Watch this video to see the Mohs surgery difference.