SIMCOE, ON, OCT. 18, 2007 – Early detection of breast cancer saves lives and local hair styling salons are sharing that message with their clients, thanks to a project co-sponsored by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
The “Be a Breast Friend” project, initiated jointly by health units throughout central west Ontario, provides information to local hair stylists about the importance of early detection of breast cancer through regular screening. The stylists then pass along the knowledge to their clients.
“Stylists are often confidantes for their clients and know far more than just their real hair colour,” noted Michele Crowley, Health Promoter, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “We did some research and found that a number of health promotion initiatives have joined forces with hair stylists as a vehicle for communicating messages. We try to focus our energies on where we know people are already going. Hair salons are a logical venue for reaching women with this invaluable message.”
The response from stylists has been positive, Crowley noted.
“Cancer is a topic that comes up on a regular basis with my clients,” said Lorna Hrvoyevich of Artistic Hair Studio in Waterford. “Knowing a little bit more about regular screening through mammograms and sharing that message with my clients is one small thing I can do to keep my clients and their loved ones healthy.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Ontario. Women over age 50 account for eight out of 10 diagnoses.
Key risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and increasing age. The best way to beat cancer is through early detection because treatment options and outcomes are improved when cancer is found early. Women over 50 should have mammograms at least every two years.
Breast screening is free for Ontario women by calling the Ontario Breast Screening Program at 1-800-668-9304. Locally, the program is available at Norfolk General Hospital where appointments can be booked at 519-426-4006.
Michele Crowley, Health Promoter
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext 3239 or 519-318-6623 or [email protected]