A Visit To Your Hairdresser Could Save Your Life - WSPA.com

A Visit To Your Hairdresser Could Save Your Life

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Susan McAlister of Head Quarters Salon and Day Spa in Greenville has spotted early signs of skin cancer on several of her customers. Susan McAlister of Head Quarters Salon and Day Spa in Greenville has spotted early signs of skin cancer on several of her customers.
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

It is where you go to unwind, catch up with friends or even regain confidence in your look. But it is also a place that may save your life.

"To be able to help someone is really nice," says Susan McAlister, owner of Head Quarters Salon and Day Spa in Greenville.

McAlister is not only good at cuts, blowouts and sharing useful tips; she pays close attention to any changes in her client's hair and skin.

"We see a customer every six weeks, they see their doctor once a year," adds McAlister. "We are going to be the first person to detect something that is unfamiliar."

McAlister has even recommended several people over the years to see a dermatologist after she noticed a suspicious lesion.

She says those who followed her advice found out she had discovered early signs of cancer.

"I felt very confident I was sending them to the right place," McAlister said.

"They are truly in the forefront of catching things early. We don't want to see cancers when they bother people. We want to see cancers when they are just starting," said Dr. John Humeniuk, a dermatologist in Greenville County.

Stylists and barbers have a unique perspective of people's skin.

"We get several cases a year referred by hair professionals," according to Humeniuk.

He says while salon pros, like McAlister are making a difference, it doesn't change the fact that people need to get into the habit of doing a monthly, full-body skin exam.

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 76,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2013.

Humeniuk says looking for changes in your moles, freckles and other spots is crucial to early detection, because when you go see your stylist, the only thing they should have to save you from is a bad hair day.

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