In the U.S., cancer is the number one healthcare cost for employers and unions. The vast majority of this burden comes from treating late-stage cancers.
Not every employee will experience late-stage cancer. Hopefully very few do. But to truly tackle cost, employers need to deploy a comprehensive, tiered strategy that narrows their efforts—screening everyone eligible, and then providing the most targeted resources for those at greatest risk for developing late-stage cancer.
Here’s what that might look like:
In this example, the entire company (100%) starts by receiving personalized risk assessments, educational resources, and support for well-known prevention methods (think: smoking cessation programming).
After that, those eligible for recommended screenings based on age and family history (say, 57% of workers) are led through easy-to-manage screenings for major cancers—breast, cervical, lung, prostate, and colorectal. This is a mix of at-home screenings and booking of in-person screenings—with much faster times to get in the door than traditionally happens. For higher-risk employees, it can also include genetic testing. The genetic tests—which are covered by insurance—can help ensure that high-risk individuals get screened for cancer earlier than they would have otherwise.
From there, all resources are focused on addressing abnormal results (in, say, 15% of workers). For this sliver of the workforce, the program provides on-demand consultations with physicians, clinical orders for follow-up testing, and Dedicated Care Advocates.
By homing in on the factions of a workforce that are at greatest risk for cancer, employers can get ahead of the looming financial burden of late-stage cancer. Many employers know this is already the state of affairs. In fact, about 44% of employers expect to see a rise in late-stage cancer in their ranks. It’s a trend that should not be met with a shoulder shrug. It’s one that should be nipped in the bud at all costs.