ASDS urges hairstylists to join fight against skin cancer
| Ramona Behshad, MD, explains how through education, hair professionals may identify suspicious skin growths during the course of their work and prompt clients to visit a dermatologist for further investigation.
Sept. 15, 2016, Rolling
Meadows, Ill. – To help promote the
detection of scalp skin cancer, the American Society for Dermatologic
Surgery (ASDS) is asking hairstylists across the country to participate in its
new initiative to encourage their clients to get suspicious-looking moles
checked by a dermatologist.
Called Stylists Against
Skin Cancer, the program teaches hairstylists how to spot potential skin cancer
warning signs and what to say to their clients if they spot something
“The Stylists Against Skin
Cancer program empowers hairstylists to link the public with dermatologists,”
said ASDS President Naomi Lawrence, M.D. “Stylists are in a unique position to
connect their clients with dermatologists early enough to provide the best
opportunity for optimal treatment outcomes.”
Print and electronic
educational materials – as well as a video that explains the program and shows
hairstylists how to detect suspicious growths on the scalp – can be found at www.asds.net/shade.
ASDS member Ramona Behshad,
M.D. – assisted by mentor Vince Bertucci, M.D., FRCPC – created the program as
part of the Society’s Future Leaders Network.
“Early detection of skin
cancer is vitally important, and hairstylists have access to difficult-to-see
areas on a person’s scalp,” Behshad said. “Stylists also are known for having good
relationships with their clients so they easily can talk to them about the
importance of seeing a dermatologist.”
According to Behshad, most
hair care professionals do not receive skin cancer education while in
cosmetology school, so the program is aimed at teaching stylists to spot skin
cancer warning signs.
Participating stylists have
access to a SHADE card that features a diagram of a person’s head and helps
them identify potentially dangerous growths or moles. SHADE cards serve a
reminder to stylists of potential warning signs of scalp skin cancer:
- Surface: The skin surface is scaly, crusty and/or
- Height: The skin is raised or sunken.
- Age: The suspicious growth has been there for more
than one month, or the client is 40 or older.
- Dermatology Evaluation: Hairstylists are encouraged to
refer their client to an ASDS dermatologist.
“By detecting growths
suspicious for skin cancer and making appropriate referrals to dermatologists
early, hair professionals can help to prevent the progression of dangerous skin
cancers,” Behshad said. “With the education we’re providing, hair professionals
will be able to provide their clients with valuable information that they can
then share with a dermatologist.”