Skin cancer is prevalent, and it is almost always preventable. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and with the summer’s sunny months nearly upon us, it’s an ideal time to remind employers that they can help to decrease the current statistic: more than four million cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Though the number of people who suffer from skin cancer is staggering (The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 91,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2018, with 10% of sufferers not expected to survive) some simple life changes offer strong prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control describe melanoma as the most prevalent form of cancer – but up to 90% of cases are caused by overexposure to the sun’s damaging rays. Below are some examples of workplace initiatives that employers can use to educate employees about prevention and detection.
- Host an on-site skin cancer screening event. Invite a local dermatologist who participates in your company’s medical insurance plan to attend.
- Raise awareness with posters, flyers, and educational materials. Find these through your medical carrier, a local dermatologist office, American Academy of Dermatology website, American Cancer Society website, and the CDC
- Increase sun protection for your employees who work outdoors. Provide sunscreen, protective SPF clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Schedule breaks in the shade and create work schedules that reduce UV exposure.
- Make skin cancer prevention a healthy competition. Challenge employees to apply sunscreen once a day and to wear hats and UV protectant sunglasses. Award a point for each day they participate; at the end of the month, enter those who completed the challenge into a raffle and award the winner a prize.
- Another challenge idea is to offer points to each employee who goes to a participating dermatologist for a skin screening. This campaign promotes annual care visits and helps employees establish a relationship with a dermatologist. To further incentivize, consider offering employees 2 hours of paid time off for their appointment.
- Share success stories of employees that detected their skin cancer early through screenings and had positive results.
If you would like assistance with planning or implementing a Skin Cancer Awareness Program for your employees, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.