CONCORD, NH--Pharmaceutical companies were the pioneers in establishing cancer screening and information programs for their employees. This is why Jack Gentile went first to the pharmaceutical industry for help in founding the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer, an organization dedicated to encouraging corporations to initiate their own cancer screen/prevention programs or to enhance existing programs.
Coalition members share information about their worksite cancer screening experiences, including cost-effectiveness calculations, through publications and an annual conference.
Speaking at a New Hampshire Employee Health Forum, sponsored by the state's Division of Public Health Services, Mr. Gentile, chairman of the Coalition, said that it has now grown to include more than 100 companies, cancer organizations, and cancer centers.
The Coalition stresses that cancer prevention and, in most cases, early detection will save lives, said Mr. Gentile, president of PRR, Inc. (publisher of Oncology News International, the journal ONCOLOGY, and Primary Care & Cancer).
The worksite is a logical place for screening and information programs, since more than 50% of the total population is in the workplace. This figure climbs to more than 90% when retirees, spouses, and dependents are included. Since women make up more than 55% of the total workforce, worksite screening presents a perfect opportunity to reach a major segment of the female population, Mr. Gentile said.
He cited two companies that have seen a cost savings with worksite mammography screening. Coors Brewing, for example, spends $78,000 a year on its mammography screening program. To date, after 13,333 screens, 51 cancers have been detected, only four of which were late stage disease.
For early detection, the company calculated a treatment cost, including disability, of $28,165, compared with $193,108 for late stage disease. Using these figures, the overall savings has been calculated at over $800,000 a year.