Exciting new research revealed that cancer may not be unavoidable, as was previously thought.

A combination of healthy eating, exercise, quitting smoking, and a number of other factors could significantly reduce cancer risk. In other words, the spectre of cancer, previously an arbitrary and devastating diagnosis thought to be based on genetic lottery, could be preventable.

In addition to behavioral change, there needs to be a move to increase screenings so people are aware of the risk factors that could lead to them developing cancer. A 2015 HealthMine survey found that 37% of people don’t know what cancer screenings they need to get and how often.

This is where wellness programs come in.

Despite the clear connection between certain activities, such as smoking, and the development of cancer, 74% of wellness programs currently do not screen for cancer. This data comes from a July 2016 HealthMine analysis of 750 wellness program participants.

Previous data indicated that even with demonstrable benefits to completing health actions like cancer and biometric screenings, people are unlikely to do any of them without an incentive. Yet 80% of wellness program members say they do not get incentives to complete cancer screenings.

Cancer is projected to overtake heart disease as the number one cause of death in the U.S. within the next 15 years. With the possibility of averting cancer now on the table, wellness programs need to be making cancer screenings available and incentivizing participation.

For the complete article in the New York Times, click here.

[Photo Credit: rachieray34 on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]