October brings Breast Cancer Awareness Month and with it a reminder to women to get screened for breast cancer. But did you know that for some women it’s not so easy?
I’m talking about the women who may be taking care of their families, working one or more jobs, and simply can’t find a way to take the time to get screened for breast cancer. This is when being an employer who is a cancer prevention champion can help!
The Cancer Prevention in Action program helps employers become such a champion by developing a paid time off for cancer screening benefit for their employees. This benefit allows employees to take time off to get screened for breast cancer (and cervical cancer and colon cancer) without having to use accrued leave or sick time.
Being an employer who supports cancer prevention has its benefits. Studies have found that employers who offer paid time off for cancer screening have a healthier workforce because staff are encouraged to make regular visits to primary care physicians and get routine cancer screenings.
Paid time off is also cost effective. The medical costs of people with cancer are high, and cancer is the second leading cause of long-term disability. A cancer diagnosis is estimated to cost a business more than $1,600 annually in lost productivity for each employee diagnosed. But savings related to early detection of cancers essentially pays for the costs of providing paid time off for cancer screenings.
If you are an employer interested in creating a healthier workforce, saving lives and reducing business costs, please contact me at 315-261-4060, Ext. 235, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The writer is Cancer Prevention in Action project coordinator (serving Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties) for the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative.