ALBANY — Dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dr. Stephen Plumb started seeing patients Monday at Phoebe Dermatology located on Meredyth Drive.
“I’m extremely excited to be in southwest Georgia and to be building a new practice from the ground up,” Plumb said. “I am definitely passionate about skin cancer treatment and prevention, but I understand there are many dermatological needs in the community and we’ll be doing a little bit of everything.”
Officials said Plumb is the only full-time Albany-based dermatologist currently offering Mohs surgery, considered a highly effective treatment for skin cancer.
“Mohs surgery is a surgical technique to remove skin cancers primarily from the neck up,” he said. “After the patient is anesthetized, the cancer is removed, and while the patient is still in the building, the tissue is frozen. I cut extremely thin sections and examine them through a microscope and verify that the cancer is gone from all of the margins.
“It has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer surgical procedure, and it also spares the most tissue, so the results are more aesthetically pleasing.”
Plumb earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin before graduating from medical school at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and completing his residency in anatomical and clinical pathology at the University of Iowa.
He pursued a skin pathology fellowship at the University of Washington before completing a dermatology residency. Most recently, while practicing as a dermatologist in central Florida, he completed a fellowship in dermatologic surgery.
“I really enjoy learning. That’s why I’ve done so much training,” Plumb said. “I find it fascinating. My biggest influence was my mother. She’s a nurse, and she continued her schooling into her middle adult years and got a master’s in nursing and became a nurse practitioner.
“I became a physician because I wanted to help people and have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Plumb has four board certifications — anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, dermatopathology and dermatology — with a fifth to come soon in Mohs surgery.
“Dr. Plumb is one of the most highly-trained dermatologists in the country,” said Dr. Suresh Lakhanpal, president of Phoebe Physicians. “There are probably no more than a dozen physicians in the United States who have his combination of skills and training as a pathologist, dermatologist and surgeon.
“We are extremely fortunate to have him in our community, and the people of southwest Georgia will benefit greatly from his expertise, particularly when it comes to treating skin cancer.”
Plumb said more than 5 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. That is twice as many as will be diagnosed with all other forms of cancer combined.
“One of the reasons I chose to come here is the limited access to Mohs surgery in the region,” he said. “A lot of patients have to go out of state for the treatment. I want to bring those skills to the area. The earlier cancers are caught, the more beneficial it is to the patient. Our treatments are less invasive and there is less scaring.”
Plumb says it is important for patients to know their own skin and check it regularly. Half of all melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are detected by patients. Those who notice a mole or spot that is growing, changing, burning, itching or bleeding should have it checked out by a dermatologist immediately.
Phoebe Dermatology is located at 2709 Meredyth Drive, Suite 340, in Albany. Patients can schedule appointments by calling (229) 312-6501.