Towergate Health & Protection underscores the critical importance for international employers to be vigilant about the prevalence of cancer, especially in first-world countries.

The health and protection specialist warns that while employers may often associate health risks with low-income countries, cancer remains a significant threat, particularly in high-income nations.

Contrary to common perceptions, cancer stands out as a leading cause of mortality globally, claiming nearly one in six lives. Surprisingly, it is more pervasive in high-income countries due to lifestyle factors. Approximately one-third of cancer-related deaths in these nations result from tobacco use, high body mass index, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, and insufficient physical activity.

Global Cancer Rates

Denmark reports the highest rate globally, with 334.9 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Ireland, Belgium, Hungary, France, The Netherlands, Australia, Norway, New Caledonia, and Slovenia, all exceeding 300 cases per 100,000 individuals.

Sarah Dennis, Head of International at Towergate Health & Protection, emphasises the need for employers to comprehend the implications of higher cancer rates in affluent countries and stresses the importance of having robust health and wellbeing plans to support employees.

The survivability of cancer greatly depends on early detection. Employers can play a crucial role in facilitating access to screenings through their health and wellbeing programmes, especially in regions where screening may not be readily available. Furthermore, the costs associated with treatments vary globally, with significant differences in drug prices. Employers need to ensure that their overseas staff have plans in place for appropriate and affordable care.

Expert Advice and Wellbeing Initiatives

Given the substantial variations in cancer risks, treatments, and survival rates worldwide, Towergate Health & Protection recommends that employers seek expert advice to tailor their support for overseas employees. Prevention efforts, including education on cancer prevention and lifestyle choices, can be complemented by wellbeing benefits such as fitness trackers, nutrition advisers, gym memberships, and smoking cessation assistance.

The final piece of the puzzle is effective communication and education. Employers should regularly inform their overseas workforce about the availability of screenings and treatment options. Providing education on the causes of cancer and promoting company-supported initiatives like screenings can significantly contribute to improved outcomes.