Hairdressers 'could be trained to spot cancer'

Stacey King

Health experts have called for hairdressers to be trained to spot the signs of skin cancer on their clients.

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There is currently no screening programme for skin cancer in the UK, despite it being one of the most-common types of cancer.

There are an estimated 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year, but many patients could benefit from having the disease spotted earlier - which would give them a better outlook. More than 2,500 people are killed by the most serious type of skin cancer - malignant melanoma - each year in the UK.

And now an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology is calling for hairdressers to be trained to spot melanomas.

It reads: "We should not wait for our patients with skin cancer to come to us when it may be too late, but use research and outreach methods to improve early detection of head and neck melanomas by capitalising on the role of hairdressers and their unique relationship with our potential clients."

And a survey conducted by Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust suggests that most hairdressers would be keen to get involved.

Sarah Williams of Cancer Research Uk told the BBC: "Spotting skin cancer early makes treatment more likely to be successful. So it's important to raise awareness of the changes to look out for and encourage people to visit their GP if they notice anything unusual.

"Signs of skin cancer everyone can look out for include changes to the size, shape or colour of a mole, any other change to a mole or patch of skin, or a sore that hasn't healed after several weeks. If you notice any of these changes, it's best to get them checked out by a doctor without delay."

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