Major cause of death for Irish women still underdiscussed, says Melissa Harris

A Dublin hairdresser who survived ovarian cancer is sharing her experience and helping to raise awareness of common symptoms, known as BEAT.  

Melissa Harris of Luscious Makeup and Hair in Dublin was diagnosed last year and has spoken out about her treatment and hair loss in national media. Shockingly, Ireland has one of the highest death rates from ovarian cancer in Europe – about 400 women are diagnosed each year in Ireland and almost 300 women die from the disease every year. 

Research released by the Irish Network of Gynaecological Oncology found that most women are not aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. The BEAT symptoms that Melissa Harris is raising awareness of are: Bloating (persistent bloating), Eating difficulty (eating less and feeling full more quickly), Abdominal pain, and Talk (talk to someone when you notice changes in bowel or bladder function). These symptoms can be uncomfortable to discuss, but hairdressers have long been well placed to hear about any number of personal issues in a client’s life.

“Hairdressers are very good about supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by wearing our pink ribbons and encouraging clients to get checked, and that’s wonderful, but ovarian cancer is less visible in many ways and symptoms may go under the radar,” says Melissa. “Even just talking about check-ups or keeping information about BEAT to hand can help them stick in clients’ minds or make a concerned client more open.”  

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