While many physicians and non-physicians care for the skin, none possess the depth of knowledge of a board-certified dermatologist. Due to a thorough 4-year residency training program following medical school, board-certified dermatologists have extensive experience in treating a wide range of skin conditions. They are required to pass the American Board of Dermatology's rigorous certifying examination, which tests knowledge in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, and skin pathology. By the numbers, during training, a board-certified dermatologist sees over 10,000 patients, performs roughly 2,000 surgical procedures including facial reconstruction after skin cancer surgery, and reviews more than 5,000 skin pathology specimens. Board-certified dermatologists then participate in a life-long maintenance of certification program that requires regular continuing medical education and recertifying tests to ensure competency in the field of dermatology. A limited number of training spots (less than 300 dermatologists are trained and become board-certified each year) ensures that only the best and the brightest achieve certification. Year after year, dermatology has consistently been the most competitive medical specialty, with trainees having higher medical school test scores and class rank than any other field of medicine.
With all of this clinical training, a board-certified dermatologist is most capable of detecting skin cancer at an early stage. When combined with their knowledge of microscopic skin pathology and surgical experience, dermatologists are best-equipped to find, diagnose, and treat your skin cancer or manage your skin disease.
So how can you find out if your doctor is a board-certified dermatologist? You can visit the website for the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org). Enter your zip code in the box on the right-hand side of the home page to find a board-certified dermatologist in your area. Make sure you get the care you deserve!
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