It’s cervical cancer prevention week and one of the key aims is to encourage women to go for regular screenings, as they are critical to picking up abnormalities early and when they are most treatable. Prioritizing wellbeing is part of a self-care routine that it is all too easy to neglect, along with so many other things like checking for lumps and bumps where they shouldn’t be, monitoring changes in moles or getting persistent niggles like coughs etc. checked out. But there are lots of things that can prevent us from prioritizing wellbeing, however as a huge part of our day to day lives, there are lots of things that employers can do to help to support their team members.
Letting Life Get in The Way…
There are many reasons why we neglect this sort of thing but for me, it was as much as anything a busy lifestyle and the demands of a high-pressure job where things constantly felt ‘too busy’ to be able to take time off. As a result, I deprioritised regular checks until the point where I started getting symptoms that I simply couldn’t ignore. Symptoms that to my horror were beginning to impact my ability to do my job.
At this point I was forced to go to the doctor, and I still remember the phone call when the surgery rang me at work to come in for test results; once again I tried to defer the issue, I was in work – couldn’t it wait, couldn’t they tell me over the phone? “No Ms Hopkins, we need you to come in, and we need you to come in today!”
That’s when the panic started, elevated when I got the blood test results, and they told me I needed urgent scans, and I was handed leaflets for cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancer. In the cold light of those leaflets that talked about treatments and surgeries and survival rates, suddenly the meetings I had put ahead of medical appointments didn’t seem quite so pressing. I had to wait weeks for a scan, but my mind was reeling – what would happen to my family and my income if something happened to me. All of a sudden, everything was very real, and I was cursing my lack of self-care.
Prioritizing Wellbeing – How can Employers Help?
As it happens, it was thankfully a false alarm. I paid for private scans to ease my worries quicker, and the issue was identified and treated quickly, but the whole experience made me realise how key it is to take care of yourself, and to choose an employer that prioritizes your wellbeing and health as much as you should. This in turn probably gives me a greater appreciation for the culture in TrakCel.
The company actively promote employee health and well-being, they have recently rolled out access to a company doctor, we have access to online medical advice, 5 Mental Health First Aiders, access to mental health support mechanisms and private medical that can be taken up. But beyond that, we have a culture where I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable or under pressure if I needed to take time to attend to a healthcare matter, and I have to say it is something that is worth its weight in gold.
What to do for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week?
We all need a reminder sometimes to take care of ourselves and having an employer that champions self-care is a real bonus. So please, whatever your gender, please go for any health-screenings that you are called forward to, take time to see a doctor if you suspect something is wrong, don’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. Make time to take care of yourself. You are most productive in your workplace when you are well, and a good employer will recognise and facilitate that so make sure that you choose an employer that prioritizes your wellbeing.
For more information on cervical cancer, please visit the NHS website.
Article by Helen Hopkins - 23 Jan 2023