Before beginning radiation, a cancer patient receives a small tattoo. The dot helps doctors target the treatment.
But when radiation ends, the tattoo serves as a constant reminder of what that person has been through.
Some cancer survivors appreciate seeing the symbol of what they’ve overcome. Many, however, don’t want to relive that terrible time.
Rhonda Klein is a Westport dermatologist. Some of her practice involves rashes, infections, dermatologic surgery and Botox.
But she also removes radiation tattoos. Because it’s so important and meaningful, she does it for free.
The procedure is part of an American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery project called New Beginnings. It’s also part of why Klein loves her specialty.
The daughter of Westport native Cheryl Flom — and granddaughter of Westport ophthalmologist Dr. Leonard Flom — Klein earned her undergraduate degree in bioengineering and biomedical science from the University of Pennsylvania.
She added a master’s in public health from Columbia University. After earning her medical degree from Penn she worked in epidemiology with the New York City Department of Health, including a stint after 9/11 on the bioterrorism task force.
But Klein always enjoyed clinic care, surgery and medical procedures. In dermatology, she says, “you never now what will walk into the office. It’s a field that combines all my interests.”
Many people, she notes, don’t realize how broad dermatology is. “There’s a lot of real medicine,” she explains. “It’s not just cosmetics.”
Klein did her residency at Yale. Her husband works at a Greenwich hedge fund. Westport was in between. In 2008, she and her family moved here.
After 3 years of residency — and 3 more on the Yale faculty — Klein had her 4th child. Four years ago, to be closer to them, she joined a practice here.
In July, she and Dr. Deanne Robinson partnered in a new practice: Modern Dermatology. It’s on Post Road East, next to the Maserati dealership.
That’s where Klein does what she loves — including free radiation tattoo removals.
October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — is a great time to let people know about this important initiative.
Which, of course, is offered all year long.