Business of Well-being

Simple Screening Can Protect Your Workforce from Major Problems.

How a Basic Annual Exam Saved one Employee's Life

Providing screening and preventive care services is a great way to improve the health of your workforce. And as Kim Stergio of Grapevine, Texas, discovered, taking advantage of company-provided programs can also be a life saver.

During a routine carotid ultrasound screening provided by her company in 2008, an abnormality was spotted on Stergio's thyroid. It was cancer.

"I had no symptoms at that time. I was completely healthy," she remembers. "Who knows what would have happened had I not been screened."

Because they found the cancer early enough, Stergio's life wasn't impacted as much as it might have been if the cancer had spread. Between 2008 and 2009 she was out of work for only five weeks, but "it would have been a lot more than had the cancer been discovered later," she said.

Today, Sergio is cancer free and is an advocate for employees' taking advantage of screening and other health-related services provided by employers.

Prostate, ovarian and thyroid cancers no doubt have an impact on the bottom line of a business. These types of cancers can show up early through annual screenings though, which reduces the burden on employees, as well as employers and their workforce.It's a numbers game. And it's staggering when viewed from the corporate standpoint.

The American Cancer Society reports that more than 241,000 prostate cancer and 22,200 cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed this year. And thyroid cancer, which affects both men and women, will be diagnosed in more than 56,000 people in 2012.

Our results from thousands of employee screenings conducted last year show elevated PSA readings on almost 2 percent of men at an average age of 44. As for women, we found elevated CA-125 blood screenings for almost 2.5 percent. A lot of things can cause these elevated readings . . . including cancer.

Annual screenings are not the cure-all, of course. Promoting healthier lifestyles through wellness programs and other preventative measures is key to a healthier workforce. And a healthier workforce goes a long way to limiting unnecessary health costs and increased premiums on employers down the road.

Cancer prevention will only be successful when individual behavior is combined with early medical intervention. And that begins with regular screening.

About The Author

Johnette van Eeden is founder and CEO of Star Wellness USA, which offers wellness and preventive care screening services for businesses, local governments and school systems.  The company currently has more than 230 clients in more than 20 states. More information on Star Wellness services, including franchise information, is available at or by calling 800-685-5572.

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