Can Barbers and Stylists Educate the Public About Colon Cancer Screening?

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According to a recent announcement by The Cigna Foundation, the organization will partner with The Maryland Center for Health Equity in the University of Maryland School of Public Health to launch a major health promotion initiative in barber shops and beauty salons in Prince George's County, Maryland, called the Health Advocates In-Reach and Research Campaign, or HAIR.

The program, made possible by a $200,000 World of Difference grant from the Cigna Foundation, intends to encourage colorectal cancer screening among African-Americans in Prince George's County by enlisting local barbers and beauticians who interact with community members on a daily basis.

Fred Spy, proprietor of The Shop barbershop and salon in Prince George's County, said in the press release, “I am pleased to be a part of this project personally, and to also involve The Shop. As barbers and stylists, we hear the stories over and over again. Our customers are comfortable talking with us about issues that they are sometimes not comfortable discussing with their families. So if we can be agents of change to help improve our community’s health, we’re on board.”

The Maryland Center for Health Equity will train barbers and hair stylists as Lay Health advocates to educate their clients about colon cancer and the importance of getting screened. Although the Affordable Care Act lists colorectal cancer screening as a free preventive screening, many people are not aware and fail to comply with recommended screening guidelines.

Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, Professor of Health Services Administration and Founding Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity, said, “This partnership with the Cigna Foundation will allow us to expand our work in the community with barbershops and beauty salons. It is an opportunity to actively engage the community in taking control of its health, and to increase age-appropriate screenings in a timely manner to reduce the rates of colorectal cancer deaths. It is also about empowering barbers and hair stylists with the knowledge to improve the community’s health.”

Other News From Around the Web

  • Our friends at Colon Cancer Alliance recently featured country musician Wade Hayes in a blog article titled, "Wade Hayes: Country Artist and Colon Cancer Warrior."
  • A new study shows that some dietary supplements may play a beneficial role in reducing colon cancer risk.
  • NBC News recently reported on the rising incidents rate in the young-onset population in an article titled, "Colon Cancer's New Face: Getting Younger."
  • An Australian study found that people who'd had colon cancer screening had a 44 percent lower risk of developing the disease in the four years following screening.

Image Source: David Porter Via Flickr

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Topics: Colon Cancer News