Aside from the occasional occupational stress an employee may experience at their work, there is also a risk of contracting occupational cancer due to occupational hazards at work. Some of those hazards can be the following:
- Chemical hazards
- Biological hazards (biohazards)
- Psychological hazards
- Physical hazards
- Noise levels at work
Most of the occupational cancers contracted by various employees come from chemicals, dust, radiation and certain industrial processes that they might have been exposed to, regardless of the amount of time they are exposed to those hazards.
Most of the hazards mentioned above could be either short-term or long-term. Some hazards can be both, posing more danger to the employees experiencing those kinds of hazards. This also affects the occupational safety and health of an employee during work. Some of the short-term hazards could be physical injuries, while long-term hazards could be the increased risk of developing cancer or heart diseases.
Some cancer-causing chemicals called carcinogens may cause mutations in one’s body, causing their cells to go berserk and cause cancer. The carcinogens may come from the chemicals listed below:
- Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds
- Beryllium and its compounds
- Cadmium compounds
- Nickel compounds
- Silica crystalline forms
- Coal tar pitch volatiles
- Coke oven emissions
- Diesel exhaust
- Tobacco smoke
- Radon gas
- Exposure to ionizing radiation
Some other chemical hazards that are known for this are the following:
- Immune agents
- Dermatologic agents
- Reproductive toxins
- Systemic toxins
- Pneumoconiotic agents
And there are some industrial processes that are related to occupational cancer, such as:
- Aluminum production
- Iron and steel founding
- Underground mining exposed to uranium or radon
Below are some other factors for one to develop occupational cancer:
- Personal characteristics (age, gender, race)
- Family history of cancer
- Diets and personal habits (i.e. smoking)
- Certain medical conditions or past medical treatments (i.e. chemotherapy)
- Exposure to cancer-causing agents (i.e. radon gas)
There are several occupational cancer types:
- Nasal cavity and anus
Each cancer has its own symptoms, in which an infected individual can consult with his or her preferred doctor or with a general healthcare practitioner, either with his company’s medical division or with other health organizations such as private hospitals.
Since there are various types of occupational cancer, the same with its symptoms should be applied here. Consulting a specialist for the type of occupational cancer an employee has would benefit him/her greatly in the long run.
Along with the symptoms and diagnosis, a specialist regarding the specific treatments used for occupational cancer should be consulted.
However, there are multiple prevention steps that can be taken in order for employees to avoid contracting occupational cancer in their respective workplaces. Below are some of the steps they can take:
- Using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hazmats.
- Strict workplace controls
- Plenty of work education for employees
- Prevention from carcinogen exposures
- Decreasing or abstaining workers from smoking