American Academy of Dermatology Responds to Article in New York Times Regarding Skin Cancer Treatment

Letter to the Editor
New York Times

Dear Editors,

“Skin Cancers Rise – Along With Questionable Treatments” depicts detrimental patient experiences when treated by physician assistants for suspected skin cancers – without direct supervision of a dermatologist. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a board-certified physician dermatologist provide direct supervision of any non-physician (PA/ARNP) for optimum dermatologic care.

Board certified dermatologists have extensive specialized training in all skin conditions in addition to their medical training, which makes them uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat skin cancers. Patients should look for the letters ‘FAAD’ behind their dermatologist’s name to signify that he or she is board certified and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dermatologists take very seriously our obligation to provide the highest standard of care by using appropriate, cost-effective treatment. Decisions of how and when to treat all forms of skin cancer should rest with the patient in consultation with their dermatologist. More information is available at


Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD
President, American Academy of Dermatology