M&S partners with Check4Cancer to offer their colleagues personalised cancer screening

Check4Cancer is delighted to announce that one of the high street’s leading retailers, M&S, has partnered with Check4Cancer to provide over 65,000 UK colleagues access to our award-winning personalised screening programme called MyCancerRisk. 

Our online risk assessment tool will give M&S colleagues the opportunity to find out their cancer risk for the five most common cancers in the UK which are breast, bowel, cervical, lung and prostate cancer.  Whilst breast cancer screening will continue, if at ‘higher risk’ of any of the remaining four cancers, then M&S colleagues may be eligible for a personalised cancer screening programme from Check4Cancer which has been sponsored by the retailer.

M&S are pioneers in providing cancer screening in the workplace; in 1965 they introduced free cervical cancer screening for their female colleagues aged 35+ and then extended this screening to women aged 25+ in 1967. At this time cervical cancer screening was not yet available on the NHS and a national screening programme was only established in 1988.  M&S’s breast screening programme also predates the NHS’s when in 1976 they became the first company in Europe to offer mobile breast screening to their female colleagues. The NHS began inviting women for breast screening in 1988 and then offered national UK coverage in the mid-1990s. Expanding their screening programme to target those at ‘higher risk’ was, therefore, a logical next step.

Over three million people missed routine cancer screening appointments in England during the pandemic – a service which normally diagnoses around 400 cancers a week. The disruption to cancer services during the pandemic has resulted in a backlog in cancer screening, cancer diagnoses and subsequent delays in cancer treatments.  A proactive approach to managing cancer risk in the workplace can make a massive contribution to early cancer detection that in turn can lead to better treatment options, improved survival rates, and increased wellbeing among employees.

Professor Wishart, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Check4Cancer comments on the M&S partnership; “Having offered a breast screening programme since 1976 to their colleagues, I am delighted that M&S have now entrusted Check4Cancer to develop a comprehensive cancer screening service, with the introduction of personal risk assessments and targeted screening for those colleagues found to be at higher risk of five common cancers."  Professor Wishart further comments: “this early cancer detection program will be supported by an online Cancer Education Hub, where all employees will have access to information on the signs and symptoms of common cancers as well as key risk factors and risk reduction strategies. This combination of cancer prevention and cancer screening is key to detecting cancer as early as possible and, improving cancer survival in the UK”.

Nicola Morgan, Head of Pensions and Benefits at M&S comments ‘This is one of a number of benefits we offer our colleagues to support their health and wellbeing. Cancer impacts all our colleagues in some way during their lives and is why we have taken a huge step forward in extending our screening support and access to expert cancer information in our partnership with Check4Cancer. We know that the earlier cancer is caught, the better the treatment options and improved survival rates which will have a positive impact on our colleague’s lives and those of their families”.    Nicola Morgan goes onto comment “4 out of the 5 screening tests offered by Check4Cancer can be done without the need of a GP visit and in the comfort of our colleagues’ homes which breaks down any barriers to accessing screening”. 

For more information on MyCancerRisk, please click here.