City honored for cancer prevention

GLOVERSVILLE — Cancer Prevention in Action through St. Mary’s Healthcare is applauding Gloversville officials for their recent approval of policies that can help prevent and detect certain cancers to reduce the cancer burden and contribute to more successful treatment.

Cancer Prevention in Action through St. Mary’s Healthcare of Amsterdam is funded by a $1.125 million grant awarded in January 2019 through the state Department of Health with a goal of introducing cancer prevention strategies to communities in Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties over the course of five years.

Program representatives approached the city in February to outline policies and education strategies to help prevent and detect cancer. The following month the Common Council approved a pair of resolutions adopting a policy for sun safety for outdoor recreation and worksites and providing city employees up to four hours of paid leave each year for cancer screening.

“We thank the city of Gloversville for their outstanding commitment to reduce the cancer burden where we work, live and play,” Cancer Prevention in Action stated in a recent press release celebrating the actions.

The city in adopting the sun safety policy has committed to encouraging the use of protective hats, clothing, sunglasses and sun screen by residents and employees when outdoors to reduce the risk of exposure to ultraviolet radiation which causes nearly all types of skin cancers.

Skin cancer is the most commonly developed form of cancer in the country, with one in five individuals developing skin cancer in their lifetimes. The risk of developing skin cancer can be greatly reduced by taking precautions to reduce exposure to UV radiation.

Reminders regarding sun safety precautions will be placed in public areas and employees who routinely work outdoors recently received training on how to maintain their safety.

City officials organizing any outdoor community events will also consider the availability of shade on-site and will assess available shade in public recreational areas to determine if additional shade is needed.

“The city received sun safety education for all city departments and implementation of environmental changes. This includes sunscreen dispensers to outdoor recreation and worksite areas of the city where both employees, visitors and residents visit often,” program officials stated.

Cancer Prevention in Action is further applauding the city’s adoption of a policy reaffirming a state civil service law that went into effect in March 2018 requiring that all employees of the state, municipalities, counties, school districts, community colleges, public authorities or public benefit corporations receive four hours of paid leave each calendar year for cancer screenings scheduled during normal working hours, without charge to employees’ accrued sick or vacation time.

Under the policy, city employees receive up to four hours of paid leave each year for cancer screening that can be used for physical exams, blood work or other laboratory tests for the detection of cancer and related travel time with appropriate documentation. This leave can only be used for scheduled cancer screenings.

“While not every cancer can be detected through screenings, cancers that can be found early or even prevented through screenings are so important and critical as part of preventative care to reduce the cancer burden in New York,” stated Cancer Prevention in Action.

City Clerk Jennifer Mazur similarly pointed to the ability of city employees to take time off for any needed cancer screenings as a “great benefit.”

“The earlier we are able to detect cancer, the more successful treatment is likely to be. Being proactive in any situation is always better than reactive and our employees are now able to have peace of mind when scheduling those appointments to proactively screen for cancer,” said Mazur in a prepared statement.

“CPiA is extremely proud of the hard work the city of Gloversville put into making this policy come to fruition. This benefit is a clear indicator that the city is investing in their employee’s health and at the same time increasing workforce health overall,” program officials stated.

To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action Program or for organizations and businesses interested in information on taking actions that can lead to cancer prevention and detection, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com or call (518) 770-6815.

By Paul Wager