Letter: Supporting cancer screenings

Dear Editor,

New York State (NYS) data show that some people who have insurance and a doctor are not getting preventive care, such as breast cancer screening. This month the New York State Department of Health released data from a 2020 survey of women ages 50-74 years that asks if they have had a mammogram within the past two years (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System). It is surprising that most women who said no had insurance (nearly 92%) and a regular healthcare provider (almost 85%).

One barrier may be a lack of paid time off from work for cancer screening. Without paid time off, an employee may have to choose between a potentially life-saving screening and the paycheck on which she and her family rely.

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Prevention in Action Program is encouraging employers to help their employees stay up-to-date with mammograms by adding a paid time off benefit for cancer screenings. 

Research has shown that offering specific time off for cancer screening (not sick or vacation time) increases employee screening rates. Studies also show that employers who offer paid time off for cancer screening have a healthier workforce. This is because staff is encouraged to make regular healthcare visits. In addition, employer savings related to finding cancer early essentially pays for the costs of providing paid time off for cancer screenings. 

If you are an employer interested in creating a healthier workforce, saving lives, and reducing business costs, please contact the CPiA program at (607) 687-8619 for more information.


Laura Bennett, Public Health Educator

Cancer Prevention in Action of Tioga County

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