Editor, UBM

September 21, 2015

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New insight into the cost of cancer for employers


Being given a cancer diagnosis is devastating, however an early detection of cancer can make all the difference when it comes to employees and employers.

A new web tool has been developed which will allow an organisation to assess the financial savings of introducing company-paid early detection of cancer.

The free Cancer Impact Calculator  follows claims by Cancer Research UK that nearly half the UK population are expected to suffer from the disease at some point in their lives.

Over 100,000 UK employees are diagnosed with cancer every year and these numbers are on the rise.

The calculator – developed by Check4Cancer with Health At Work Wellness Actuaries (HAW) – is based on current data on the risk of cancer among people of working age in the UK.

Taking information on the levels of undiagnosed cases across different cancer types, this actuary model draws on insights from cancer specialists into the stages of tumour growth and post-diagnosis treatments.

It also takes into account the costs involved, likely levels of workplace absence, longer-term treatment and survival rates.

Average figures are used on normal absence rates, presenteeism costs, average death and private medical benefit costs and typical turnover rates.

Based on these data inputs, the model projects future outcomes for everyone tested over a 10-year period, comparing the tested individual to someone that has not been tested. This provides the basis for clearer decision-making on approaches to mitigating the impacts of rising numbers of cancer cases in the working population.

Case study

Accountancy and advisory firm BDO trialled the Cancer Impact Calculator and found an estimated saving of £1.66 for every £1.00 invested in cancer checks.

Debbie Thomson, head of operations said: “The health and wellbeing of our people is vitally important to us.  Cancer is a horrific disease which affects so many people which is why we decided to bring in early detection cancer screening.

“Screening provides our people with significant preventative health benefits as well as peace of mind and the calculator proves the commercial value of introducing this benefit. This benefit will be introduced for our people in January 2016 and forms part of our developing wellbeing agenda.”

Early detection

Professor Gordon Wishart, Professor of Cancer Surgery at Anglian Ruskin University and Medical Director at Check4Cancer, said: “Early detection is critical for both cancer survival and limiting the need for, and extent of, treatment.

“The Cancer Impact Calculator enables organisations to get a straightforward indication of what that means in financial terms, and how they and their staff can benefit from an investment in cancer detection.

The web tool is backed up by a more tailored service, using detail from organisations on total headcount, gender, age, population with private medical cover, as well as their specific circumstances in terms of absence, death and medical benefit costs (as a multiple of pay), staff turnover and most appropriate types of screening.

Based in Cambridge, with close links to Cambridge University Hospitals and its pioneering medical community, Check4Cancer has become the leading provider of awareness resources and early detection services for the most widespread cancers to employers across the UK either in their workplace or in one of its clinics. The service has helped close to 25,000 employees to understand their personal risk, and identified more than 100 cancers that may otherwise have gone undetected.

The Cancer Impact Calculator is being made available by Check4Cancer.

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