NOT enough hairdressers know how to help customers undergoing treatment for cancer, but one Liverpool cancer charity is doing its best to change things. With the help of a hairdresser, Sheila Fairclough, who has undergone treatment for cancer herself, Sunflowers Cancer Support, based in Aigburth, is launching training sessions for hairdressers and barbers across the city. The training sessions, which cost just £10, will cover areas such as the signs and symptoms of cancer, common post-treatment symptoms and how cancer affects the individual in particular hair loss, re-growth and wigs. Leading the sessions will be Sheila Fairclough, breast cancer survivor, from Old Swan who has worked as a hairdresser for over 20 years, The next two courses will run on Tuesday 4 October (5-7pm) and Monday 10 October (2-4pm) and all participants will receive a certificate of attendance. Discussing the upcoming course, Emma Squibb, Chief Executive at Sunflowers said: “Sadly due to cuts in local health funding, there’s very little locally focussed cancer awareness training available. “This isn’t good, because Liverpool still has one of the highest rates of cancer incidence in the UK. Here at Sunflowers we have the expertise and experience to help local people to understand more about cancer. Our training sessions help people understand the disease, how they can reduce their risk of developing the disease, what to do if they think they may have the symptoms and cancer and also our volunteers are all experts through real life experience, who help people understand what having cancer, and treatment involves. “We’ve been delivering general cancer awareness sessions to community groups for some time and more recently added specific cancer awareness training for exercise professionals, which has proved popular. We’re now adding a specialised training session for the hairdressers and barbers of Liverpool. The idea first came from a lady who has used our services for a while, following her own experience of breast cancer. We hope the training will help our local hair professionals understand how cancer affects their clients and what they can do to help.” Sheila Fairclough added: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. I lost all my hair through chemotherapy, and of all the things cancer threw at me, that was one of the hardest things to cope with. My own hairdresser, Barry at Kritzia on Queen’s Drive helped me through this, by keeping in touch with me throughout my treatment, even when I had no hair to style! His positivity and encouragement made a big difference. “Now I’m on the mend I want to help as many other people affected by cancer as I can. I know from experience that people confide in their hairdresser (or barber) and tell them things they wouldn’t tell their friends or family. I’m sure that sharing my experience of cancer, and in particular hair loss and re-growth, will help local hairdressers and barbers support their clients during and after cancer treatment.” Based at 21 Aigburth Road in South Liverpool, Sunflowers provides guidance, counselling, complementary therapies, exercise groups and support sessions for people living with cancer – whether newly diagnosed or in remission. Its services are free, confidential and let by a team of professionals.