Employers should bite the bullet and pay for employees to be regularly screened to detect early signs of cancer, an employee benefits consultancy has said.
The call by John Howard, senior consultant at Buck Consultants, was made to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“Claims for cancer-related illnesses on company medical plans are often expensive, with the average company medical plan spending around 10% of its claims fund on cancer benefit,” he argued.
Paying for employees to be regularly screened for early signs of cancer could therefore be cost effective, with executive health screens typically costing around £400, although it was often possible to negotiate preferred provider discounts for large volumes.
Targeted screening for conditions such as breast and cervical cancer could be another viable, often more cost-effective option.
Howard advised that even if the cost of face-to-face screening was prohibitive, employers should still be informing and educating workers and offering online health risk assessments, adding: “Employers should not think there is not much that they can or need to do.”
Just 2% of women can name five warning signs of breast cancer, according to research from the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
The poll of 1,000 women, again conducted to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also found that only 45% checked their breasts regularly, with the most common reason among those who did not being that they forgot.
The charity has launched a new breast awareness guide, Touch Look Check. It is available by texting TLC to 84424 or registering online.