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You can be pretty sure that your hairdresser will notice surgical scars from a face-lift, but it turns out that they’re also pretty adept at spotting signs of skin cancer on the scalp, neck and face. When researchers surveyed more than 200 hairstylists and barbers in Houston to see how quick they were able to identify signs of cancer, they found that more than half reported having already alerted their customers about suspicious moles or lesions.
The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health decided to survey the stylists and barbers because 10 percent of melanomas – the most dangerous and potentially deadly type of skin cancer -is found on the scalp, which isn’t easy for people to check on their own, and because the researchers didn’t think physicians routinely check their patients’ scalps for cancer.
Hairdressers and barbers, however, see their customers 10 times a year or more and are in a position to look carefully for moles and lesions on the scalp. Those surveyed in Houston expressed interest in learning more about how to detect skin cancers. The study was published in the October 2011, issue of the Archives of Dermatology.