Increasing skin cancer early awareness and prevention in hairdressers, dermal therapists and beauticians
Early detection of skin cancer, in particular its deadliest form melanoma, is associated with higher survival and better health outcomes. Over 90% of melanomas can be successfully treated when diagnosed early. Nearly all skin cancers are directly related to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. By protecting your skin from the sun’s UV radiation this can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Preventive sun safety actions can include reducing time outdoors during peak UV hours, using shade, wearing protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts, hats, and sunglasses and use of sunscreen.
Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, massage and dermal therapists are professions which see a lot of skin in their daily work, so they are well placed to recognise changes to the skin and provide sun safety advice.
Skin cancer can affect all areas of the body, even where you least expect it such as your scalp. This is where a hairdresser could help play a part in skin cancer awareness, as they can easily view the scalp on their clients. Scalp melanomas tend to be more aggressive and mortality rates are more than twice that of melanoma on other parts of the body (1). This may be due to scalp melanomas being located in a hard to see spot and are easily hidden by hair making them more difficult to self-detect.
Similarly, a tattooist providing a tattoo on an individuals’ back which is a hard to see location could talk to their clients about skin awareness if they have the skills to notice any suspicious spots.
Skin Cancer Prevention Queensland and The Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre are holding an industry forum to discuss how we can equip the dermal, hair, tattoo and beauty industries with the skills to start a conversation about skin changes that could help to detect skin cancer earlier and save lives. We welcome anyone working in these industries to join us in-person or online. This forum brings together academic and research sectors, clinicians, government, non-profits and industry to talk about this important topic.
Helping these professions develop the skills and confidence to speak confidently with their clients about sun protection and how to chat about skin changes with their clients has the potential to reduce the impact that skin cancer has on the Australian population.
Date: Tuesday 7 November, 2023 Time: 9am to 3pm Venue: (In-person) UQ Oral Health Centre Lecture Theatre, 288 Herston Rd, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland and (Virtual) via Zoom