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Professor Gordon Wishart

Chief Medical Officer, Check4Cancer

Employers must consider a cancer strategy that focuses on cancer prevention and early cancer detection for all employees, not just those with private medical insurance.


Until recently, many employers relied on the NHS to look after their employees without private medical insurance (PMI) coverage if cancer was suspected or diagnosed. However, pandemic impacts have increased waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment to a level that is unacceptable for employees and employers, with a shift to later-state diagnosis estimated to be as high as 17%.

Cancer risk assessment and prevention

Check4Cancer offers cancer risk assessment using MyCancerRiskã, an online platform that identifies those at higher risk of six common cancers (bowel, breast, cervical, lung, prostate, skin) so that these employees can access funded cancer screening and/or risk reduction strategies.

This enables employers to ensure that their spend is targeted to the higher risk employees while providing access to an education hub that raises awareness of the risks, signs and symptoms of common cancers. The Cancer Impact Calculatorã can provide a return on investment for employers who adopt this service.

We have seen significant increases in corporate
cancer screening since the end of lockdowns.

Cancer screening for employees

Cancer screening helps to detect cancer at an earlier stage so that employees require less intensive treatment, return to work quicker and live longer. For employers, there is also a positive impact on absenteeism and presenteeism rates.

Cancer screening is also available to employees from Check4Cancer either as a flexible benefit or as a company-funded programme. We have seen significant increases in corporate cancer screening since the end of lockdowns as companies step in to look after their workforce.

Access to streamlined diagnosis

Check4Cancer currently provides rapid access without GP referral to streamlined diagnostic pathways for breast, prostate and skin cancer. Investigations are undertaken promptly to ensure either reassurance can be given that a cancer is not present, or a diagnosis is provided quickly to enable treatment to commence. With current delays to cancer diagnosis and treatment, access to these services could be extended to employees without PMI coverage via a Trust or additional funding.

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