Author: Yvette Williams, director of educational programs for Eyes On Cancer
The beauty industry is the biggest non-medical profession seeing skin most often, making it the first line of defense in spotting skin cancer. This year alone, there is expected to be 178,560 new cases of melanoma in the United States, and of that number, 91,270 are projected to be invasive. As of February, there are 1.2 million licensed cosmetologists and the average beauty professional will see approximately 120 cases of skin cancer throughout their career. Multiplying the two numbers, there are 144 million people we are desperate to save from invasive treatment, and/or death. Identifying skin cancer early dramatically improves the prognosis. In fact, caught early the survival rate of 5-10 years, for melanoma that hasn't metastasized beyond the tumor itself is 99%.
Beauty schools are perfectly positioned to shape and influence students not only to provide great hair care services to clients, but through our certification program, empower them to identify early signs of skin cancer and help save lives. Recognizing skin cancer on clients and encouraging them to see their doctor for diagnosis and treatment is not just an industrywide cause, it's an industry responsibility.
We are here to help. Together, we can expand awareness through education and see a subsequent impact on skin cancer diagnoses: fewer cases of metastases when certified beauty professionals know what to look for and how to direct clients. Eyes On Cancer's (EOC) online certification program is how it gets done. With more than 8700 beauty professionals already certified, we have testimonies of stylists who've seen something on the skin of a client, said something about it, and ultimately saved a life.
Jeanne Braa Foster, a retired platform artist for Paul Mitchell who with her husband Dr. Dean Foster started Eyes On Cancer in 2014 after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer states, "Our course focuses on visual awareness because beauty professionals are visual people. That's how they learn. And that's why they are perfect partners to their clients in spotting abnormalities."
Unlike most other teachings, EOC's certification course teaches what skin cancer looks like in its earliest state and provides instructions on how to speak with clients about what they see in a professional fashion. The course in no way endorses the process of diagnosis and treatment but rather instructs stylists to refer clients to their physician for evaluation, consequently eliminating any risk for malpractice concerns or lawsuits.
We urge every beauty school to get involved. Make sure every future professional in your school certified through our HERO program. For a nominal fee ($100 a month), subscribers receive unlimited access to the certification course available in English and/or Spanish. Unlimited access to other courses is included in the subscription, as well as a school profile on the EOC website and a pin on the EOC Google map where people can look and find schools with certified professionals. There are no additional costs if new programs/content is added, and there are no restrictions to the number of times the site or content is accessed/viewed. To become a HERO school, contact Yvette Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early detection often makes a difference between cure and no cure. Ultimately that's the goal of Eyes on Cancer: the more beauty professionals trained equates to more lives saved. Our goal is getting at least 20,000 by the year 2020
For more information on Eyes on Cancer, please visit eyesoncancer.org.