The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is currently in the process of developing a Cancer Prevention in the Workplace program. It will provide individuals and HR personnel with the unique opportunity to promote cancer prevention and reduce cancer incidence in their workplace community through evidence-based programming and a rich provision of resources.

Colorectal cancer stats

  • Last year, 22,500 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and sadly 9,100 died from it—equivalent to 30 jet disasters.
  • It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canada
  • One in 14 men expected to develop colorectal cancer during his lifetime and one in 27 will die from it
  • One in 15 women expected to develop colorectal cancer during her lifetime and one in 31 will die from it
  • Based on 2010 statistics, about 1,500 lives could be saved annually if more Canadians were screened, and even more through adopting healthy lifestyles

Notwithstanding the fact that CRC can be prevented through screening and primary prevention (healthy lifestyles):

  • At least 56% of Canadians aged 50 to 74 are not up-to-date with their screening
  • Sixty percent do not realize they should actually be checked before signs or symptoms are present
  • Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable

Employers will be furnished with a training program and a tool kit, enabling them to raise awareness of cancer prevention and screening. The program will place a particular emphasis on colorectal cancer, as it exemplifies the common requirements for prevention not only of colon cancer but for many other cancers and diseases. It will be easily adaptable to include other cancers as well.

The multi-media tool kit will furnish employers with the relevant content on numerous topics, including:

  • information and education campaign tools;
  • cancer facts and colorectal cancer facts;
  • symptoms and risk factors;
  • nutrition and diet;
  • exercise and weight loss;
  • smoking and alcohol cessation;
  • improving work environment and reducing work-related hazards;
  • stress reduction;
  • support programs;
  • screening programs;
  • information on undergoing treatment while working;
  • survivorship; and more.

An online colorectal cancer risk assessment tool will allow communities to assess their risk of developing colorectal cancer as well as track the effectiveness of the program throughout its duration, by assessing the pre-, interim and post-program risk. The tool’s ability to generate aggregate data for a community—whether it be the workplace or otherwise—will be one of its many highlights. The community’s overall risk will be identified and monitored, providing individuals and employers with the tools required to reduce the overall risk of cancer by implementing the program.

Individuals will ultimately be able to retain their own personal health information through a web application established through a CCAC partner-ship. HR personnel will be able to utilize aggregate data collected from the community to estimate the community risk for cancer and act accordingly in cancer prevention and risk reduction.

Expert articles and supplemental information will also be featured in an online journal and updated regularly to increase the availability of useful information.

Stay tuned as the CCAC continues to develop additional tools with regard to this exciting new initiative in cancer prevention.

Barry Stein is president, Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.

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Back to more coverage from the 2011 Cancer Care Summit, hosted by Working Well.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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