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Workplace Health Screenings Save Lives And Money

Utah health advocates says workplace cancer screenings cam save lives and reduce the financial impact of cancer

Some of Utah’s largest employers are choosing to provide workplace screenings to encourage and support women's health. Utah health directors are networking with school districts, universities, private companies and small business owners to provide screening to help save lives and money.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on average most states pay nearly $2 billion dollars annually to cover the cost of caring for cancer patients.

Utah Department of Health's Joelle Fierro says cancer screenings are key to providing preventative care for saving lives and for reducing the cost of treatment.

"Take for example breast cancer,” she says. “Breast cancer found in its earliest stages is most easily and effectively treated, and so it is most cost effective."

Utah Cancer Control Program Manager Marie Nagata says many women in Utah, even those with health insurance, are not getting screened for breast cancer.

“They put their families, work, and other obligations in front of their own health,” Nagata says.

Bringing a mobile mammography unit right to the workplace allows employees to get these important screenings, says Fierro, without ever leaving work and helps reduce fear associated with cancer screening.

"Sometimes people are just afraid to know,” Fierro says. “Just because you don't know doesn't mean that you won't get cancer. One in eight women get breast cancer.”

UDOH is partnering with health systems to bring mobile mammography units to worksites at no cost to the employer. Insurance companies pay for mammograms done by a mobile unit just as they would if you went to the hospital. If a woman doesn’t have insurance Fierro says she can see if she qualifies for a free mammogram from the Utah Department of Health.

To kick off the worksite initiative for 2020, the UDOH is partnering with the Salt Lake School District and Intermountain Healthcare for a mobile mammography event at Rose Park Elementary on January 31.

“Public school districts are some of the largest employers of women in Utah,” Nagata says “So it makes sense to begin our efforts here. Salt Lake School District has not only been eager to make sure their employees are getting screened, they also want to make sure the women in their community are getting screened. Information has been sent to families, and community coordinators in the district have been hard at work to educate the community about just how easy, and important, it is to be screened for breast cancer.”

The UDOH is taking requests for other workplace mobile screening partners. 

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.