Kelly Miller diagnoses and helps treat people with skin cancer.
Six months ago, she examined a man and had to tell him the large red mass on his chest was melanoma.
I let him know that it was a very dangerous one, Miller said. He was crying. It was definitely a death sentence.
Some days, Miller sees 50 to 60 patients a day as a general dermatology family nurse practitioner at Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center locations in Warner Robins, Tifton and Forsyth. She spends other days assisting doctors on cancer surgeries.
Georgia Dermatology specializes in Mohs surgery, where the surgeon uses a microscope to cut cancer tissue on the skin while attempting to do as little damage to healthy tissue as possible. When the doctor is finished removing tissue, Miller is in charge of treating the wound and applying grafts and stitches.
Michael Sharkey is the medical director and one of the main surgeons at Georgia Dermatology. He has 24 years experience in the field and has been working with Miller since she was a teenager.
She has good hands and real good common sense, he said.
Miller is a valuable asset because she combines talent, friendliness, beauty, ability and determination to succeed, Sharkey said. She is just going to continue to do more and more.
In 2014, Miller said she will start running her own surgeries for patients with straight-forward cancers, such as those on their arms or backs. Further down the road, she may be asked to oversee laser treatments and Botox injections for cosmetic dermatology procedures, Sharkey said.
I want to do everything I can in my field, Miller said.
-- Andres David Lopez
Click on the links below to read of 14 to Watch in 2014 stories:
Joe Molyson, 66, Bonaire, retired colonel and assistant director of operations for intelligence, Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base; also retired Houston County High School astronomy teacher