New Law Will Make it Easier for Public Employees to Detect Cancer Early
Albany, NY – Early detection is a crucial piece of solving the cancer puzzle, and now it is even easier for public employees to get screened. A new law sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Kemp Hannon will expand eligibility for excused leave to all forms of cancer screenings. Previously, only breast and prostate cancer screenings were allowed for by law. This added emphasis on early detection will help reduce the mortality rate of highly aggressive cancers of the colon, cervix, and lung and will ultimately save New York State a substantial amount of money in future health care costs.
Most New Yorkers are aware that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and understand the benefits of early detection. However, many people are often unable to get screened because they cannot miss work in order to do so. The result of this is that our healthcare system is burdened with treatment of late stage cancer which is often far more expensive than early treatments. Additionally, end stage cancer treatments are generally more palliative than curative while mortality rates are much lower if cancer is caught early.
This legislation provides public employees with a paid leave of absence up to four hours per cancer screening type each year (or up to two full-time days cumulatively). The American Cancer Society recommends regular screenings for cancer at almost all ages, depending on the type of cancer. For example, it is recommended that women between the ages of 21 and 65 are screened for cervical cancer every three years. Prior to this legislation, many public employees would have been forced to use sick or personal time in order to take this important preventative measure which saves lives and reduces overall healthcare costs.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) said: “Cancer diagnoses are horribly impactful on families, and are often unnoticed until it is too late for treatment. I, like many New Yorkers, have lost loved ones to cancer that if caught earlier would have been less likely to be fatal. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation to protect the health of our friends and neighbors who work for the public good.”
State Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau) said: "Given the Affordable Care Act is being reconsidered at the federal level, it is especially important that New York encourage early detection of its public workforce."