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
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.