Get a free melanoma exam with your next cut and color? A team of researchers wants to re-shape early cancer detection.
Your hair stylist can tell how thick your hair is, what type of cuts work well with your face shape, and which products will make you feel like a million bucks. But what if your stylist could tell you when it’s time to visit a dermatologist?
Hairdressers may be the next frontier in skin cancer detection and prevention
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer contracted in the U.S. The deadliest form is known as melanoma, affecting roughly 90,000 Americans each year. Although melanoma comprises only 1% of skin cancer diagnoses, it accounts for the large majority of these deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Fortunately, most melanomas can be prevented if treated early. The difficulty is in detection.
Most Americans aren’t trained in distinguishing the harmful moles from the harmless, and many moles appear on areas of the body that aren’t easily inspected. You can’t ask your doctor to check out the weird patch of skin lurking at the nape of your neck if you don’t know it’s there.
But a new study offers hope for a completely re-imagined system to promote early detection. Published this month in JAMA Dermatology, the study shows promising evidence for hairdressers to be able to catch potentially malignant moles in those hard-to-see areas on their clients.
“Hairdressers have the ability to monitor a large extent of the general public’s scalp and neck,” writes Neda R. Black, MD, one of the study’s authors from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
All it takes to make hairdresser cancer detection a reality is a simple 5-minute video
First, the researchers sent out a survey to over 100 hair stylists from 45 different hair salons to get a better understanding of industry knowledge of melanoma detection. The authors wrote that, while there was “room for improvement in knowledge regarding signs and symptoms,” most stylists are eager to learn more to provide their clients with better care.
Next, the researchers designed a 5-minute educational video to teach stylists how to spot the melanoma warning signs, using the helpful acronym ABCDE. Each letter represents a key feature of a malignant mole: Asymmetrical shape, irregular Borders, multiple Colors, a Diameter larger than 6mm, and Evolving in shape, size, or color.
Finally, they sent the video and a link to the survey through email to over 100 participants in 20 different cosmetology schools in Los Angeles County. Before watching the video, 59% of the students could tell a suspicious mole from a benign one. After viewing the video, 71% could do it.
Moreover, the educational video gave the students confidence in identifying pre-cancerous lesions. Before watching the video, only 19% felt very confident in their skills. After, that number more than doubled to 41%.
I just heard from a friend that her hair stylist discovered a melanoma while cutting her hair. Given how hard it is for folks to check their scalp for aberrations, this could become a welcome service. Let me know what you think! Thaïs
Read the full article at: www.forbes.com