I don’t know about you, but I visit my salon a lot more than I visit my dermatologist. So the news that public officials think hair stylists should help with skin cancer screening seems like a really smart idea.
Research published this week shows that some stylists are already notifying clients when they see something awry: Out of 208 stylists surveyed, 58% said they’d urged a client to get moles or other abnormalities checked out by a doctor. Alan Geller, a co-author of the study, told NPR that the study just confirms other evidence that stylists are an effective part of the screening process: “Almost every dermatologist I’ve talked to anecdotally has said to me, Yes, I’ve had a melanoma case referred to me by a hair professional.”
Now, the study authors are developing a program to train hair stylists in how to recognize signs of skin cancer, which they’ll be implementing statewide in Massachusetts later this year in conjunction with the Melanoma Foundation of New England.
Geller says that, while they hope training like this will aid prevention, he does advise stylists to remind patients that they’re not experts to avoid undue panic. “I think the best way that we’re trying to reassure customers is to have hair professionals say, ‘I’m not an expert. But maybe the most important thing you can do is to see your doctor as soon as possible.’”
Photo: Cortello Hair Spa