Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer to affect both men and women; it’s also the second-highest costing cancer in the United States [1]. Fortunately, regular screening starting at age 45 can help prevent colorectal cancer and detect it early. Despite the many benefits of colorectal cancer screenings, screening prevalence is below the national target, with one in three employees missing out on recommended preventive colorectal screenings [2].

Employers are in the position to impact efforts to control cancer-related costs by improving their screening strategies and making quality screenings more easily accessible for employees. Elevating preventive screening strategies benefits employees and employers as prevention, and early cancer detection costs are typically less than the direct and indirect costs related to treating late-stage cancer. For employers looking to minimize costs associated with colorectal cancer, LetsGetChecked’s at-home Colon Cancer Screening Test is a cost-effective and convenient solution to provide employees with the preventive care they need.


The costs of colorectal cancer treatment and subsequent productivity losses


Cancer treatment accounts for 12% of the total medical costs for employers in the United States, with about $125 billion spent on direct medical costs and another $139 billion associated with diminished productivity and lost work time [3]. High direct costs associated with colorectal cancer include diagnostic testing, extensive inpatient hospital stays, and the need for ongoing treatments. Besides direct costs, colorectal cancer also has indirect costs such as work productivity losses due to absences that create productivity deficits and employment disability that is about $1,000 higher than people without a history of cancer.

Depending on the stage, the average Medicare health care spending for patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer can range from $40,000 to $80,000 [4]. The average cost per colorectal cancer claim was over $8,000 and took an employee off the job for an average of 100 days [5]. Even after receiving cancer treatment, some people may be unable to return to work, while others may be incapable of performing work-related tasks due to illness or distress. The earlier colorectal cancer is caught, the more likely the disease can be confined to smaller, more easily treatable areas. This results in better employee health outcomes and a quicker return to work, minimizing losses in productivity.


Benefits of at-home screening programs


While regular colon cancer screenings are the most effective way to reduce the risk of the disease, on-site screening programs have various barriers to engagement that may prevent employees from receiving the preventive care they need. Barriers to screening engagement may include a lack of time or transportation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prevented people from receiving colorectal cancer screenings resulting in the number of colonoscopies performed in 2020 declining by almost 25% from 2019 [6].

Employers can provide at-home colorectal cancer screening programs to ensure employees have access to quality preventive care so they can continue performing their best. At-home screening programs can elevate an employer’s screening strategy while also reducing the logistical burden of traditional onsite screening events. They allow employees to conduct their tests from the comfort of their homes, on their own time, and through a minimally invasive process. Since employee health and productivity go hand in hand, regular at-home screenings are essential to promoting an effective and efficient working environment that benefits your organization.


Elevate your colorectal screening strategy with LetsGetChecked


LetsGetChecked’s at-home testing solutions can help employers manage the impact of colorectal cancer and preventive care on their employees. We have helped employers worldwide close gaps in preventive care while improving long-term workforce health outcomes. Our at-home Colon Cancer Screening Test meets employees where they are, providing a cost-effective and minimally invasive screening test.

For more information about colorectal cancer screenings and LetsGetChecked’s at-home testing solutions, register for our upcoming webinar, Let's Talk About Colon Cancer Screenings for Employers. Colorectal Surgeon, Dr. Pigalarga, MD, and our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mordkin, MD, will discuss the importance of colorectal cancer screenings, the impact of COVID-19 on screenings, and how at-home screening programs can be tailored to meet your organization’s unique needs. Together, we can keep employees healthier and happier while maintaining productivity and minimizing costs. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions.


References


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/programs-impact/pop/colorectal-cancer.htm
  2. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/colorectal-cancer-screening
  3. https://www.johnshopkinssolutions.com/paying-attention-cancer-pays-off-employees/
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/programs-impact/pop/colorectal-cancer.htm
  5. https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/03/26/how-can-employers-address-colorectal-cancer-and-its-productivity-impact/
  6. https://healthcostinstitute.org/hcci-research/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-use-of-preventive-health-care