Awareness of skin cancer is as easy as ABC and D and E

The HSA, or Habia Skills Academy, have asked professionals in the hair and beauty industry to this summer remember their ABCDE, the 5 important steps that can identify skin cancer and thus save somebody’s life.

The HSA’s SCA, or Skin Cancer Awareness, campaign is aimed at encouraging those who work in health and beauty to play a role in identifying the earliest symptoms of melanoma whilst working closely in their role with their clients.

Public awareness of cancer has never been higher, and yet skin cancer remains the fastest growing cancer in the UK, especially amongst young people. However, the chances of a positive outcome can be dramatically increased if it is caught early.

The five steps of the ABCDE are:

A – Asymmetry: Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical

B – Border: A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges

C – Colour: A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor

D – Diameter: If it is larger than ¼ inch or 6mm, it needs to be examined by a doctor

E – Elevation: Elevation means the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface.

The HSA is publishing packs for salons and training providers that will help educate colleagues about the signs of skin cancer and raise awareness amongst clients.

The packs, which will contain leaflets, posters, information cards and window stickers, will be available from May 2013, as will a new smartphone app with videos and pictures to explain the ABCDE in more detail.

There will also be a Learning Support Unit (LSU) developed at a later date covering skin cancer in order to support learners as they train.

Habia MD Rob Young said, “Getting people to seek advice and take the symptoms seriously is the most difficult part, but this is where industry professionals can play a valuable role. Staff will not take the job of GPs and doctors, instead they will simply identify what could be potential symptoms and recommend medical advice be sought.”

He added, “Beauty may be only skin deep, but skin cancer is life changing. With the facts about skin cancer at their fingertips this summer, staff will be able to confidently identify symptoms and advise clients to seek appropriate medical guidance.”