Cut Out Colon Cancer

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 3, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - You talk to your barber about sports, family, politics, etc.

But, what about your health? Officials say the barber shop and hair salon is the perfect place for it. They've started a unique initiative to get more people talking about colon cancer awareness.

"They had Moses Malone, Chocolate Thunder, Dr. Jay." Says, Tallahassee resident Darryl Ray while getting his hair cut Tuesday.

Basketball talk is normal in a barber shop. But, when it comes to talking about colon cancer, Kendall "The Bullet Barber" Simon cuts to the chase.

He works at the Corner Barber Shop in the Governor's Square Mall, and is one of nearly 40 barbers and hair stylists in the Big Bend area to participate in "Cut Out Colon Cancer." It's an initiative by the Big Bend Area Health Education Center to spread awareness by using the people you already chat with about everything else--your barber.

Simon says, "The platform that we have, we run across a lot of different individuals who deem us trustworthy, deem us respectable. It feels good to not only be able to make someone look good. We're also able to kind of like enhance and be a part of them having a better quality of life."

Every week, an average of 125 people sit in Simon's chair. With 14 other barbers in the shop, there's the potential to reach thousands.

The barbers and stylists received training on how to bring the issue up to clients.

Ray's grandfather died from colon cancer five years ago. So, he doesn't mind his barber having the talk with him. He says, "Just to see him whittle away to about weighing probably about 150 pounds, smaller than me; just to see him shrivel up because it metastasized and went from his colon all the way to his lungs. It changes your perspective on what's important."

Simon says, "There's a lot of humor in the barber shop. But, this is a serous issue."

The shops and salons have window cream, aprons, and capes that say, "Ask Me About How to Cut Out Colon Cancer." A box with information cards are also available to allow clients to pledge to go get screened.

About 20 barber shops and salons are participating in Leon, Gadsden, Taylor, and Jefferson counties.

The initiative is in partnership with and funded by the Florida Department of Health. For more information, call 850-224-1177.

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