FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Cancer education and screening in the worksite need not be an expensive venture, several speakers said at a session on costs at the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer (ICAC) conference.
Carolyn Messner, ACSW, of Cancer Care, Inc., a social work agency providing free guidance to cancer patients and their families, has set up lunch-time cancer education programs at various workplaces at an average cost of only about $1 per attendee.
But such low costs are only possible if the speakers waive their customary fees. "You need to cultivate pro bono speakers for these workshops," she said. "You have to make them feel important, acknowledge their contribution, and provide speaker visibility."
Robert Zullo, MD, corporate medical director for Employee Health, Merck & Co., described how his company reduced the number of smokers at Merck worksites in the United States with a program that costs only $75 per employee.
A nonsmoking policy was initiated in 1988. "It's a total site ban, and at some large sites that means a smoker may have to walk over a mile to the gate to have a cigarette," he said.
Smoking Declined by 20%
The ban was accompanied by smoking cessation programs and education seminars to help smokers quit. Dr. Zullo said that, by 1991, a survey showed that the incidence of smoking had declined by about 20%. In addition, 45% of the smoking population said that the Merck policy had motivated them to quit or cut down their smoking.