18|8 Fine Men's Salon at the Rim partnered with nonprofit Eyes on Cancer to train their stylists to recognize the early signs of melanoma. Credit: Courtesy / 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon

Imagine you’re at the doctor’s office for a routine checkup. You’re expecting the all-clear, but suddenly you’re delivered terrible news – the seemingly benign bump on your neck looks like it might be skin cancer. In that moment, your world is rocked, and you’d do anything you could to have that diagnosis sooner to give you better treatment options.

That’s the spirit of our newest initiative at 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon. When my wife, Jennifer, and I decided to open our business in 2015, our goal was simple: to provide men in the area with a refined, upscale place to go take care of all of their grooming needs. Over the past year and half, we’ve forged incredibly strong relationships with our clients, other local businesses, and the community around us. But it’s been over the course of the last few months that we’ve truly recognized the impact our salon can have.

An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. All too often, cases of skin cancer go undiagnosed because people miss the warning signs, especially in areas of their body that they can’t see such as the face, head, neck, and scalp. They are areas that many people don’t even think to check but they may be hiding potentially dangerous warning signs.

That’s not a reality we should be comfortable with, and the primary reason our salon has partnered with Eyes on Cancer, a national nonprofit organization that trains beauty industry professionals on the prevention and early detection of skin cancer. For a small donation and only 30 minutes of online instruction, Eyes on Cancer allows anyone – from stylists, barbers and other beauty industry professionals to everyday people like you and me – to become certified in identifying skin cancer warning signs. I’m proud to say that, to date, six of our salon’s stylists and barbers have received their certification to recognize the early signs of melanoma. Going forward, all new hires will go through the certification process as part of their initial training.

Most people go to their beauty professionals more frequently than they visit a dermatologist. With more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer each year, the chances of a stylist or barber spotting a warning sign on a client’s face, head, neck, or scalp are quite significant. If and when a member of my staff does identify a suspicious spot or skin abnormality on a client, they are trained on how to open up a larger dialogue about skin cancer awareness and prevention and how to recommend the client visits a medical professional for further evaluation.

In addition to the Eyes on Cancer training our staff has undergone, we’ve partnered with a local Cancer Treatment Center to create VIP cards for patients undergoing chemotherapy to provide them with services free of charge in a completely private room. I’ve witnessed firsthand how difficult chemotherapy can be – our hope is that this small gesture will help to empower them to fight just a little bit harder.

For me personally, these partnerships with Eyes on Cancer and the Cancer Treatment Center strike a sobering chord. My own brother, Ben, recently lost his battle with cancer at only 41 years old. To say that it was tough to cope with is an understatement – a cancer diagnosis isn’t something you’re ever ready to deal with. Knowing that something as simple as having my stylists and barbers go through the Eyes on Cancer training could potentially help even one person and their family, makes it beyond worth it.

The Eyes on Cancer certification and Cancer Treatment Center program that my salon is participating in are just a drop in the bucket in terms of the steps that everyone can be taking in the fight against cancer. It’s my hope that one day in the near future, all salons in the San Antonio area and beyond take part in the Eyes on Cancer training to better promote skin cancer awareness for clients.

For more information on Eyes on Cancer, including how you can become certified or how to donate, click here.

To schedule an appointment at 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon – The Rim, call (210) 362-1081.

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Paul Felsing

Paul Felsing is the owner of 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon - San Antonio The Rim along with his wife, Jennifer. 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons are best known for offering affordable indulgences that cater to men with...