UNC Docs Recruit Barbers to Find Skin Cancer

May 9, 2011

Doctors at UNC Hospitals are enlisting hair stylists to help detect skin cancer. The university's Cancer Care center hosts an event today called Care Behind the Chair to teach barbers about melanoma and how to spot it. Doctor David Ollila says hair stylists get a close look at melanoma problem spots like the scalp, neck and shoulders.

David Ollila: "Even though it's roughly only about 20 percent of the body's surface area, it actually accounts for over a third of the melanomas. And that's because that's a area that just got bathed with sun as people were going through their teenage years and twenties."

Melanoma is one of the only forms of cancer still on the rise. Ollila says organizers are also demonstrating organic hair products, which are better for patients receiving chemotherapy. More than 50 stylists are gathering for the event later this morning.