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On-the-Job: Corporate Cancer Prevention Programmes

10 September

An expert discussion on the development of corporate cancer prevention programmes took places as part of the Russian Labour Safety Week business programme. The session was organized by the Roscongress Foundation Healthy Life project.

Event participants included Director of the N.F. Izmerov Scientific Research Institute of Occupational Medicine Igor Buhtiyarov, Chief Expert for Medical and Social Expertise of Employees of Organisations in Selected Industries with Particularly Dangerous Working Conditions and Populations of Selected Territories of the Main Medical and Social Expertise Office of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency Svetlana Aminova, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Movement Against Cancer Svetlana Bokova, Deputy Head of the Occupational Medicine Directorate of SUEK Igor Shipilov, Federal Coordinator of Health Education for Volunteer Health Workers Maria Miroshnikova. The session was moderated by Kommersant Publishing House Correspondent Anastasia Manuylova.

Cancer continues to pose a significant public health threat. Early detection continues to be the most effective way to prevent cancer from developing and the best opportunity for those employed in manufacturing to undergo high-quality diagnostics and screenings for malignant neoplasms. Equally important for preventing the development of oncological diseases is the organization of a healthy working environment that promotes the primary prevention of risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol, and an unhealthy diet among others. Finally, an important aspect is the creation of conditions in the workplace for the psychosocial rehabilitation of employees who have survived cancer. Corporate programmes for the prevention of cancer are a profitable investment for the employer, who thus guards against the economic risks associated with the long absence of qualified personnel from the workplace.

Director of the N.F. Izmerov Scientific Research Institute of Occupational Medicine Igor Buhtiyarov spoke about the main difficulty in determining the relationship between workplace contact with a carcinogen and the occurrence of cancer: “A special commission can designate a cancer as having been work-related, and this imposes certain obligations on the employer to compensate damage to health, to pay for the employee’s treatment, and most importantly, to develop measures to reduce harm to current employees. The main difficulty in establishing such a diagnosis is that oncological diseases often appear 6–7 years after work has ended and contact with a carcinogen, and it is therefore extremely difficult to prove the connection”.

During the meeting, the experts discussed how the economic effect of corporate programmes promoting the prevention and early diagnosis of oncological diseases can be assessed, what corporate strategies should be employed to bring an awareness of high cancer rates to employees’ attention and make known the importance of systematic preventive examinations, how common workplace medical examinations of employees aimed at diagnosis malignancies are, and what kind of assistance industrial and manufacturing companies and enterprises can and should provide to their employees during cancer treatment.

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