Skin Cancer Foundation: Dermatologists and Beauty Professionals Team Up to Spot Skin Cancers


The Skin Cancer Foundation is encouraging dermatologists and beauty professionals to work together through an education program called Heads Up! The skin cancer awareness program provides beauty professionals, including hair stylists and aestheticians, with tips on what to look for, and how to speak to their clients if they spot a suspicious lesion.
The Skin Cancer Foundation's Heads Up! program was developed by Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, Senior Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. In 2012, Dr. Sarnoff was alerted by a beauty professional at her salon to a suspicious lesion on her head. Though a biopsy showed the lesion to be benign, the experience made her realize the important role beauty professionals play in spotting potential skin cancers.
“Beauty professionals are on the front lines, and can play a critical role in helping to detect potential skin cancers,” said Sarnoff. “My experience highlights just how important it is for dermatologists to educate these first responders and arm them with the tools they need to spot suspicious moles and talk to their clients.”
Heads Up! enlists dermatologists to host beauty professionals for an educational event where they will learn about skin cancer and its warning signs. Since early detection is critical, the Heads Up! program ensures that this group of first responders will be prepared to give a “heads up” to their clients if they see something suspicious and encourage them to visit a dermatologist in a timely manner.
Skin cancers of the scalp specifically are extremely dangerous and can be more lethal than skin cancers found in other areas of the body. Their hard-to-see location can lead to a delay in diagnosis, and skin cancers in this area have a higher risk of spreading to the brain, making them more lethal. Heads Up! aims to arm beauty professionals with the tools they need to spot suspicious lesions before they become serious.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Each year, nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer. Of the seven most common cancers in the US, melanoma is the only one whose incidence is still increasing. The overall five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent. This means that early detection is crucial, as skin cancer is highly treatable if detected early.

Hosting a Heads Up! Event—Benefits to Dermatologists:
· Build Practice: Hosting an event is a great way to engage with people in the local community.
· Patient Handouts: Participating dermatologists will receive two Skin Cancer Foundation handouts to print and distribute at Heads Up! events—“Spotlight on Skin Cancer” and “The ABCDEs of Melanoma.”
· Networking Opportunity: Beauty professionals and event attendees refer potential patients.
· Practice Spotlighted on and the Foundation's Social Media Platforms: Photos from a Heads Up! event will be featured on the Foundation's website, which is visited 10 million times each year. Event photos are also posted to the Foundation's Facebook page, which is liked by more than 39,000 people.

Downloadable Program Elements*:
· Heads Up! PowerPoint Presentation “Skin Cancer and Its Warning Signs”: A brief and easy-to-understand guide to discovering suspicious lesions and how to communicate to beauty clients about this.
· Heads Up! Script: A suggested script that coincides with the PowerPoint presentation.
· “How to Host a Heads Up! Event” Guide: Includes tips on how to host a successful event.
· Heads Up! Event Invitation Template
· Heads Up! Program Participation Certificate
For more information on Heads Up! Visit the program website.

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