New York, NY – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and DC 37, the largest municipal union in New York City, is partnering with MSK Direct, a service of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to educate and test union members.
Lung cancer is the #1 cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. In its early stages, few symptoms are evident, or even none. However, with early screening, 80% of lung cancer is found by doctors. In its early stages, the disease is easier to treat.
DC 37 represents 150,000 active members and 50,000 retirees, in jobs that include caring for the sick, children, and the elderly, in addition to the maintenance of bridges, parks, roads and subways, staffing of hospitals, schools, libraries, social service centers and city colleges – and many more. They are also a part of AFSCME – with more than 1.6 million members nationwide.
Many of these workers are especially vulnerable to disease. Local 376 represents NYC Construction Laborers and Highway Repairers, among others. Those who work in construction face a greater risk of exposure to asbestos, which has been linked to lung cancer. Another local, Local 3621, which represents Uniformed EMS Officers, could also have members at risk. Being first responders, they are susceptible to exposure in the event they have to enter a burning building.
But the potential dangers don’t end there. The risks for developing lung cancer extend beyond the environmental.
“Our goal with MSK Direct is to bring the best healthcare services available directly to our members. Our program is very proactive. We encourage members to go for check-ups and screenings and to understand what they may be genetically predisposed to. MSK provides tools and direct access for our members,” DC 37 spokesperson Freddi Goldstein says.
Those additional risk factors include a worker’s smoking history, age, family history, and exposure to toxic substances.
To learn more about MSK Direct, visit https://www.mskcc.org/mskdirect/how-it-works, or call them at (646) 639-2000.