October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Four-Step Plan for Employer Action

Population Health & Well-Being

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Four-Step Plan for Employer Action

October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women, after skin cancer. Every year, 1 in 8 women (13%) develop breast cancer.1 This rate is predicted to continue climbing in coming years, in part driven by a rise in breast cancer diagnoses in women under 50.2

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the survival rate and the lower the cost of treatment.3 Females of average risk should get mammograms every other year, starting at age 40. Those at higher risk should consult their physician about when to start mammograms.

It’s important to remember that while women are the most common demographic to get breast cancer, any gender can be impacted, including men (although it is far less common).

October presents an opportunity for employers to focus on their benefits, helping to enable employees with easy access to preventive care, early detection, navigation and support specific to breast cancer.

Why Employers Should Be Concerned About Breast Cancer

In a recent Business Group on Health survey, 1 in 2 employers identified cancer as the top healthcare cost driver.4 The previously mentioned rise in cancer diagnoses directly correlates to increased costs to employers. Breast cancer has the highest treatment cost of any cancer. In 2020, the treatment cost for breast cancer was three times that of lung cancer, the second most expensive cancer.5 Employers shoulder a large portion of the direct and indirect medical costs, including absenteeism, presentism and disability.

Employers trying to improve outcomes related to breast cancer and address increasing costs may consider these four steps:

Emma Collins

Population Health and Well-Being Consulting Analyst

Kelly Polinski, MPH, CPH, CWPM

National Population Health & Well-Being Consultant

Louise Short, MD, MSc, FACOEM

National Clinical Leader