The following “Call to Action” was written in an article by Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD. She said:
“In my opinion, a skin cancer educational program targeting hair professionals has the potential to increase the early detection of skin cancers on high-risk anatomical areas such as the scalp and neck. Far more people visit the barber or hair stylist than the dermatologist on a regular basis.
Hair professionals, including those who shampoo the scalp, have a more complete view of the scalp than the rest of us do — and they can see it even more easily when the hair is wet. They spend an extended period of time with each client, often at monthly intervals. They are well-positioned to detect a scalp lesion and even to notice an early change.
Hair stylists need to know that by speaking up they are not offending the client — they are potentially saving a life. Taking a photo with a client’s cell phone or pointing out the area in a mirror and encouraging the client to seek out professional advice from a dermatologist may indeed be lifesaving. Early detection and treatment usually result in the complete cure of melanoma, whereas melanomas found at an advanced stage may be curable less than 15 percent of the time.”
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Dr. Sarnoff was diagnosed with skin cancer. It was detected by her hair stylist. The You Can Make a Difference Foundation wants to take Dr. Sarnoff up on her “Call to Action” by helping raise awareness throughout the beauty industry of the potential presence of skin cancers in their clientele. We hope to engage hair stylists, colorists, skin aestheticians, manicurists, cosmetologists, make up artists, and massage therapists are all beauty professionals who can serve as the first line of defense against possible skin cancers. If a suspicious spot is identified, they easily can encourage their clients to visit a dermatologist for a thorough skin examination. With proper education – anyone potentially could save a life.