Virginia Cancer Network’s Colon Cancer Free Zone
- Increase the awareness of the importance of colorectal screenings.
- Empower employees to live healthier, active lives
- Increase the overall health of the worksite.
The Colon Cancer Free Zone will educate Eastern Shore worksites about the importance of colorectal screenings and living a healthier lifestyle through good nutrition and physical fitness. This is achieved by empowering worksites to take an active role in their employee’s health through three interactive lunch and learns.
In the first session, employees are visually guided through a colonoscopy by a gastroenterologist and given colorectal educational materials. Their human resource representative also discusses how their insurance covers screenings and answer questions about time off for screenings.
The second session includes a healthy food cooking demonstration. Participants will get to learn and taste new healthy recipes. The group leaves the session with fully bellies, new recipes, and a water bottle to promote drinking water. Participants will also sign a pledge to be Colon Cancer Free by knowing the facts about colon cancer and promising to get screened if over 50 and talk to at least three others about the importance colorectal screenings.
During the third workshop, employees get up and active with an exercise physiologist who guidesthem in activities they can do during the workday and easy at home routines using resistance bands, which they get to take home. They also receive pedometers to promote the creation of a walking program at work.
Beyond the three sessions, the employer is encouraged to create healthy incentives that can be continued on throughout the year. Examples include granting paid time off for screenings, creating a walking path, starting a walking program, or establishing a weight loss challenge. The program reinforces the idea that healthy behaviors and colorectal cancer awareness doesn’t have to stop once the program staff leaves.