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Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the most deaths. When it is on the scalp, it can be especially difficult to detect it in a self-examination: when was the last time you examined the top of your head?
A person who could help: your hairdresser. While they cut their hair, they have a great view for an inspection of the scalp. And they can learn how to detect fear changes, say the researchers.
In a report published on Wednesday at JAMA Dermatology researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of Colorado Denver detailed their efforts to educate hairdressers with a training video. The hairdressers had told some of the same researchers that they wanted to learn more about the detection of melanoma in a previous survey, so they seemed willing participants.
The researchers showed the short video to 100 hairdressers in the Los Angeles area and measured their knowledge of melanoma detection before and after. After observing, the number of hairdressers who reported that they were "very confident" in their ability to pinpoint possible melanoma lesions increased more than twice and increased their measured knowledge of melanoma and its risks.
The idea of using hairdressers as another The way to catch melanoma is not new. A 2011 survey found that more than half of Houston area salon workers had seen a mole on a client and suggested that the client see a doctor.
Bonnie Sedlmayr-Emerson, a 63-year-old resident of Tucson, understands the importance. In December of 2004, her hairdresser found a salmon-colored spot on the top of her head and suggested that she see a dermatologist. Finally, she was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to the lymph nodes. Although it was not an easy road and he will always have cancer in stage four, he says that now he is well without evidence of illness. She calls her hairdresser, who still sees, her lifeline.
In the future, the authors of the study indicate that it is necessary to carry out more research to see if these advances in knowledge persist over time.
Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist from New York City who was not involved in the study, adds that doctors need to continue talking with hairdressers to raise awareness.
"It's not going to be a unique and definitive thing," says Day. . "We have to keep reminding them and continue education to help them recognize and be vigilant both to see a place and tell the client so they can tell their dermatologist."
Greta Jochem is a science intern at NPR Desk.