Ah, Florida. The sunshine capital of the world. That means warm winters, lots of sun and, unfortunately, that means we’re all at a higher risk for certain types of skin cancer. But how do you choose a dermatologist you can trust? How can you find one that won’t try and push expensive chemical and cosmetic procedures on you?
Finding a dermatologist you can trust is hard work. Frank Armstrong at Dermatology Specialists of West Florida, knows how intimidating doctors and skin cancer can be, and he works hard to be the dermatologist you can trust.
“I want people to feel comfortable. I don’t even wear a lab coat,” he says. “It’s a very comfortable way of dealing with people.”
Don’t mistake his lack of a lab coat for a lack of the very best technology available.
“This is a comprehensive and very sophisticated practice,” he says. “We offer skin cancer diagnosis and treatments. They involve not just surgery but treatment with a superficial type of radiation for selected non-melanoma skin cancers: the Sensus SRT-100.”
Armstrong Dermatology and Dermatology Specialists of West Florida have two locations (subdivisions of Florida Dermatology and Skincare Specialists) that can offer a full complement of services.
“We do everything from acne to cosmetics to psoriasis, we do all these things,” Dr. Armstrong explains, but adds that they specialize in skin cancer treatment. Dr. Armstrong developed a strong sense of responsibility to his patients.
“The care that we provide is much more individualized than many other doctors,” he says. We provide more personalized care. If you call us and you get an answering machine, it’s because all our real people are talking to other patients.”
The entire staff at Dermatology Specialists of West Florida endorses Dr. Armstrong’s way of thinking and treats all their patients with respect. You won’t find any high-pressure sales tactics here. No one will try and sell you expensive peels or creams, but if you want to have cosmetic work done, they do keep a full time aesthetician on staff to help you find the best procedure for your skin type and lifestyle. They also offer non-surgical skin tightening, called Thermage, through their aesthetician. They just won’t push those things on you; Dr. Armstrong says that isn’t what being a doctor is about.
He also understands that not all skin is created equal and he tailors his treatments to your needs and wants.
“I don’t treat everyone the same. It’s more of an individualized care, and we involve our patients in the decision making process,” he says. “I always do what’s best for the patient every time.”
Come see them if you have concerns about your skin. They take all concerns seriously, especially skin cancers.
“Skin cancer is so common; I probably saw 20 skin cancers today,” Dr. Armstrong says. “That’s not uncommon. The three main types we see are basal cell carcinoma (the least aggressive), squamous cell carcinoma (which can be non aggressive or aggressive) and malignant melanoma (the most aggressive).” They also find a lot of pre-cancer skin cancers.
“Basal and squamous cells are almost always found in sun-exposed areas, they bleed, they scab, they grow quickly. Melanoma is often found incidentally, when someone comes in for something else and they’re often in areas like the back or the back of the leg. They’re painless and they’re often in areas you can’t see. If you were a lifeguard, had a lot of sunburns as a kid, have a lot of moles, or have a family history of melanoma, you should probably get screened,” he says.
Armstrong Dermatology and Dermatology Specialists of West Florida take most insurances. They have male and female practitioners on staff, so you can discuss delicate matters with whomever makes you the most comfortable. Both Dr. Frank Armstrong and Dr. George Bondar are board-certified dermatologists. Cheri Morales, a Certified Nurse Practitioner, MSN, ARNP-C, has 15 years experience and does much of the cosmetic work; Whitney Saron has five years experience and works in all elements of skin care.
Dermatology Specialists of West Florida offers free skin cancer screenings, including “lunch and learns” at community centers, churches, or condominiums. Watch the Gabber for upcoming free lunch and learns and screenings. They have two full-service locations that serve the South Pasadena to Clearwater area.
“If we don’t provide the service we can get you to someone who will help you,” Dr. Armstrong promises.
Frank Armstrong, D.O, FAOCD
Fellow of the American Osteopath Dermatologist
George Bondar, D.O, FAOCD
Dermatology Specialists of West Florida
5200 Seminole Boulevard (close to Madeira Beach)
9170 Oakhurst Road