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New Study Points To Hairdressers’ Unique Opportunity To Save Lives

We all know the word ‘hairdresser’ is an umbrella term for a myriad of roles stylists take on in the salon (for example, there are some serious therapist fees I’m sure you’re all due). A new study has found that the latest title to be added to that ever-expanding resume could be ‘live-saver’.


The recent study points out just how vital hairdressers can be in the battle against skin cancer, finding that 5 per cent of the 237 skin cancer patients with scalp melanomas involved in the study had been alerted about the cancer by their hairdressers. As this hadn’t been a major focus of the study before the trend was identified, the numbers are being discussed as ‘conservative estimates’ that could range to many more. The significant finding was presented to the annual scientific meeting of The Australasian College of Dermatologists.

“In Australia, where we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, it is important that everyone is aware of recognising changes to spots or nodules on their own skin and on others,” said co-author of the study Professor John Kelly. “I would ask that hairdressers bring any spots or nodules to the attention of the client and, without causing distress, encourage them to get it checked by a doctor.”

It was discovered that men with thinning hair are most at risk of for these scalp melonamas, but that even those with full heads of hair can get them from sun exposure around the part line. As scalp melanomas have twice the mortality risk of any other head and neck melanoma’s, early identification can be especially crucial.

Hairdressers should be on the lookout for any changes or abnormalities to the scalp including irregularly shaped and unevenly coloured brown or black patches. Keep a look out and you can don that metaphorical cape with pride.

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