For years, Eileen Korey was the beloved health correspondent for WKYC, a leading local news station in Cleveland. Although she’s since moved on from her on-screen reporting days, her fiery-red hair (it was what she was known for on the segment) is still going strong. As her home station reports, Korey still keeps her color bright with monthly appointments with her stylist, Kari Phillips, who has been coloring Corey’s strands for over 15 years. But at their latest appointment, Phillips noticed something on Korey’s scalp that wasn’t there before.
A mole had surfaced, and because Phillips’ dermatologist sister had previously educated her on the symptoms and signs of skin cancer, Phillips decided to advise Korey to get the mark checked out. “Because we take such little partings on our touch-ups and on our highlights, we can see pretty much the entire scalp,” Phillips tells WKYC, explaining why catching these marks can be easier to spot for a hairdresser or colorist.
After visiting the dermatologist, Korey learned that the mark was melanoma. “I wouldn’t have seen it; I wouldn’t have felt it because it wasn’t raised,” Korey says, explaining that having a second eye was the only way she could’ve found the mole. However, because Korey acted quickly once she heard the news, she’ll only need surgery to remove the mark—no radiation or chemotherapy treatments will be necessary. Now, Korey’s newest health report is urging all hairstylists to be on the lookout for their client’s health, just like hers was.
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While having a second eye at the salon is always helpful, there’s no need to wait until your next color appointment to check for suspicious spots. According to Korey’s dermatologist, Cleveland dermatologist, Pamela Davis, MD, the best time to check for marks on your scalp is right after your shower because they’re easier to see when your hair is wet. She also says that because patients often come into their dermatologists’ office with dry hair, it can be tougher to find, and that getting through the entire head of hair with precision is difficult. “We ask our patients to try to remember to ask the stylist to look when the hair is wet.”
If you see something that looks like it may be cancerous, schedule a time to speak with your dermatologist immediately. To learn more about Korey’s story, watch the video below.