Skin cancer: Hairdressers and beauticians being trained to spot killer disease

The move aims to make beauty professionals the “first line of defence” against skin cancer in under-35s.

Melanoma - a potentially deadly skin cancer - is one of the most common cancers among young people aged 15 to 34.

While people from this age group may rarely see a GP, they typically visit a salon around every eight to 12 weeks on average.

Cancer charity Skin has launched the move in a bid to make the most of the regular contact younger people have with their hairdresser or beautician.

Its training programme MASCED - short for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Early Detection - provides therapists with training materials and a 45-minute e-learning course. 

Claire Dale, MASCED campaign manager, said: “Hair, health and beauty professionals are expertly placed to help spot what could be the early signs of cancer which could improve prognosis and save lives.

“The MASCED programme is about empowering those professionals to feel they can communicate any concerns they may have to their client, so medical advice can be sought quickly.” 

Therapists who complete the course will be granted a certificate of professional accreditation. 

Customers will be able to choose salons which have accredited staff who have gone through the additional cancer-spotting training.

Skin said beauticians and hairdressers will not be expected to diagnose cancer or be responsible for spotting it, but the programme aims to educate them to notice the signs and advise clients as to what should be done about it. 

The charity hopes all hair, beauty and health professionals - including physiotherapists and masseuses - who have regular contact with the skin of their customers will undergo the training.

Around 2,000 professionals have already signed up, despite the programme not officially launching until next week.

It will be started later this month at the Professional Beauty London event which is attended by 33,000 beauty professionals.

Mark Moloney, managing director of the event, said: “Too many people are lost each year to a cancer which is treatable with early detection. 

“We know that people regularly start using salons and having treatments from a young age, meaning our professionals could be the ones to help those younger people survive this cancer.”  

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. 

Incidence rates have more than doubled since the 1990s, as more Britons have taken to going on sunshine holidays abroad.

Experts estimate that by 2035, rates will rise by 7 per cent to make melanoma one of the major forms of cancer. 

There were 15,900 new diagnoses of melanoma skin cancer in 2015 and more than 2,400 people die every year from the disease in the UK.  



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