The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. During January, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) and its many local chapters across the country highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease, and the importance of early detection. This month, we take a look at the local data and what is happening around our region.
So what is cervical cancer? It's a type of cancer that begins in the cervix and is the easiest form of gynecologic cancer to prevent if regular screening tests are performed. There are two main tests that can either assist prevent cervical cancer or diagnose it early: pap test and HPV test. It is also easily cured if diagnosed and treated early.
Though cervical cancer often occurs in women over age 30, all women are at risk of getting cervical cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. And each year about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. In NYS, about 859 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually and almost 300 women die from the disease each year. In Western New York, the incidence of cervical cancer vary from 4.6 cases per 100,000 females (Orleans County) to 10.1 cases per 100,000 females (Allegany County). Rate of mortality in Western New York vary from 0 deaths per 100,000 females (Wyoming County) to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 females (Chautauqua County).
Have you seen the community spotlights on Keys to Health? Last month we highlighted GBUAHN as they implemented a PTO policy for health services listed by their insurance company as “$0 copay preventive services.” Through PHIP, we have been working with the cancer screening workgroup on policies for paid time off (PTO) for cancer screenings. Well, we decided to practice what we preach and have adopted our own policy allowing for eight (8) hours paid leave annually for all current, full-time staff, to undergo cancer screenings. The paid leave may be used for screening any form of cancer, including but not limited to breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, or lung cancer.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Early detection of breast, colorectal and cervical cancer dramatically improves treatment outcomes. However, employees without access to paid time off for cancer screenings are less likely to obtain recommended screening tests. Failure to detect cancer early affects employers: Each cancer diagnosis is estimated to annually cost a business $1,601 in lost productivity. By providing paid leave for cancer screenings, employers may realize a healthier workforce and reduce spending on worker compensation and disability costs, replacement costs for ill or injured employees who are absent, and recruitment and training costs for new employees.
Is your organization interested in how they can add PTO time for cancer screenings? Contact Karen Hall.
Do you know someone in need of screening who is underinsured or uninsured? New York State has resources that are greatly underutilized! The Cancer Services Program (CSP) provides breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings and diagnostic services at NO COST to women and men who:
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