Dr. Blake Sanders is a board-certified dermatologist that specializes in medical and surgical dermatology.
“Our philosophy here is to make a positive impact in our community. We want to make our community healthier and happier.”
Dr. Sanders’s mother moved to the Mooresville area in 2005. His studies moved him around the country, but holidays were often with his mom. With all the places he went, he didn't see anywhere that attracted him more than this area of North Carolina. He decided Mooresville was where he wanted to open his practice.
Many folks in Iredell County spend significant time in the sun - with the lake drawing many, the beach and mountains close by, an active sports community, and an active farming and gardening community, people enjoy spending time outside. They often neglect to get their skin checked, however.
The American Academy for Dermatology recommends all people get their skin checked once a year if they have never had a skin cancer (more often if they have). A professional who is practiced at recognizing skin cancers and other issues can keep problems from escalating.
When a patient comes in for a skin check, Dr. Blake is primarily looking for one of the three classes of skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell and squamas cell carcinomas), but also other skin conditions or lesser occurring cancers.
“A lot of times people come in concerned about a certain spot and I look at it immediately and know it is nothing that’s dangerous. Other spots they think are a bug bite or ‘I’m not worried about that spot’ and it turns out to be a skin cancer.”
There are general differences in cancers, though eyes of educated experience often notice what unpracticed eyes cannot see.
Generally basal cell cancers are a pearly papules (shiny raised bumps). Squamous cells are usually scaly and rough. Melanomas are usually pigmented - dark, irregularly shaped and non-scaly. Sometimes they arise from a mole a person has had for a long time, but sometimes they simply spring up.
Catching cancer early is important because it can save your life, prevent the need for surgery/biopsy, and prevent scarring. Sometimes pre-cancerous lesions can be burned off using liquid nitrogen and never develop further.
It is summer and many are sun tanning. Dr. Sanders believes there is no good suntan, except perhaps a spray tan.
“Your skin is full of cells. Every cell has a nucleus and the nucleus contains DNA. Whenever you go outside in the sun or get into a tanning bed, the sun or the tanning bed is emitting electromagnetic radiation. That radiation penetrates into the skin, it goes into the nucleus and causes DNA mutations. Those mutations are what give rise to skin cancer.”
“Your DNA is the blueprint for the cell and if you modify the blueprint it may end up telling the cell that it just needs to keep growing and growing and growing and growing, multiplying and dividing. That’s exactly what skin cancer is.”
Here are a few tips he gives for minimizing sun damage.
- Stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.when radiation is highest.
- If you are out of in the sun, seek shady areas.
- Wear sun protective clothing and hats.
- Wear sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 30 or higher that has broad spectrum coverage.
- Check the ingredients in your sunscreen. Dr. Sanders recommends sun blocks made with zinc or titanium dioxide, which aren’t absorbed into your skin. If you want the sunscreen to rub into your skin, some of the synthetics may do that better.
- Most sunscreen manufacturers use the same ingredients, so brand should not be a big consideration for most when purchasing.
Sun not only causes skin cancers, but ages the skin of people faster.
It’s not just the sun that causes need for a dermatologist to check for skin cancers, though. All radiation causes mutations in cells, regardless of whether people are exposed through the sun, their jobs, or medical treatment.
There are also more minor skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and dandruff that disrupt lives, and other conditions that happen in the layers below the surface.
Dr. Sanders says he hit the jackpot with his staff. He says he also wants to be a good employer and create a positive work culture where his employees are happy.
Medical Assistant Victoria is experienced in her job, but also a small business owner in her own right. She helped him set up everything from the accounting system to making sure the proper equipment was in place for patients.
Receptionist Michele not only keeps the front office operating smoothly, but also has a good understanding of insurance plans.
Dermatologists handle problems with the skin, nails, and hair. Dr. Sanders said that he has noticed often people in this area don’t reach out for help. A dermatologist can catch and solve problems before they escalate and improve other issues that impact the quality of life.
Dr. Sanders says his faith is the heart of what he wants to give as a physician. He wants patients to know he and his staff care about them and leave the office feeling feeling positive about the experience. He wants to know if their expectations are on the same page as his own.
Being direct, honest, and trustworthy is important to the practice - not only is a patient’s health important, but also all aspects impacting the patient such as payment and insurance.
Sacred Heart Dermatology is located at 170 Medical Park Rd., Suite 203, in Mooresville, NC. It is located at Exit 33, behind Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.
Usually no referral is needed for most insurance plans.
As a new practice, appointments can be made without long waits. That’s important since things that concern someone can be looked at sooner rather than later.
Call the office at 980-550-2400 to make an appointment or for more information.
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