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Highlights and a Skin Check

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A new study recently published in the Archives of Dermatology suggests that hair stylists may have a role to play in the fight against skin cancer, reports Maria Godoy at the NPR Shots blog. In a survey of 203 hair salon workers in the Houston area, 58 percent of respondents told researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health that they have told a client to get a mole on the scalp, neck, or face checked out by a doctor, Godoy says. And several dermatologists the researchers spoke with said they've had at least one case of melanoma referred to them by a hairdresser. "Hairdressers and barbers tend to enjoy an easy rapport with clients, see them regularly and often share advice with them. All of which explains why, over the years, public health officials have recruited salon workers' help in various health awareness campaigns — such as encouraging women to seek mammograms and men to get prostate screenings," Godoy says. And now, even without being trained, hairdressers are increasingly performing skin checks. The researchers who conducted the study say they're now working with the Melanoma Foundation of New England to start training programs for hair stylists in Massachusetts on how to recognize the signs of melanoma, Godoy adds.

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