How a hairdresser can save your life

Michelle, right, spotted a cancerous mark on Karin, left. Credit: Provided
Stylist Michelle Campbell, right, spotted a cancerous mark on Karin Dumas.
Credit: Provided

Cathy Shattuck thought she was just going in for a haircut.

The Chelmsford, Mass., resident had an appointment with her stylist, Sal Malafronte, at Salon Mario Russo in Boston. But she never thought she’d leave that day with a scary revelation.

“He was cutting my hair and going through it,” Shattuck says. “He just said, ‘Geez, there’s a little something funky there. You should probably get it checked out.’ I thought, if this person thinks that it should be checked, then I definitely should.”

What Malafronte noticed was a mole that was asymmetrical and off-color.

“When I saw it on her head, it looked a little unusual, a little darker than it should have been, and the sides were a little jagged. It looked like it had spread a bit from its original form,” says Malafronte, artistic director at Salon Mario Russo.

Upon a visit to her doctor, Shattuck learned the mole was basal cell carcinoma — skin cancer.

“It turned out I had three areas of cancer,” says Shattuck, who underwent Mohs surgery to have the moles removed. Now with a clean bill of health, her story is just one of many where a hairstylist may have saved a client’s life.

“The Skinny on Skin” is an initiative created by the Melanoma Foundation of New England that provides free training to hair and beauty professionals to detect dangerous moles. Lesions on the head and scalp account for 5 percent of all melanoma, and due to the likelihood of late detection in that area, melanoma on the head and scalp is responsible for 10 percent of all melanoma deaths. It’s grave statistics like those that keep the program growing, training more than 300 stylists in the Northeast so far.

Michelle Campbell, owner of Hair Plus Salon in Norway, Maine, is one of those trained stylists. After encouraging her client Karin Dumas to have a growing mole on her scalp checked out for years, it was discovered that Dumas also had basal cell carcinoma.

After surgery to remove the cancerous mole, Dumas is cancer-free, and Campbell has a client for life.

“Even if I moved out of state, I would probably go back to her,” Dumas says, “because I am eternally grateful.”

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, responsible for 71 percent of all fatal skin cancers.

Who is at risk?

While anyone can get melanoma, there are some groups that are at a higher risk than others. They are:

  • White males over age 50
  • Those with family members who have had melanoma
  • People who spend a lot of time exposed to ultraviolet light, particularly tanning and burning
  • People with atypical moles

How do I prevent skin cancer?

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even in colder and rainy weather.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Do not lay out in the sun or in tanning beds.
  • Conduct self-examinations regularly.

All info courtesy of the Melanoma Foundation of New England.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.