Because of the fact that it takes many year from the exposure to a carcinogenic agent to the onset of the actual cancer disease – often 10-20 years or even more, the cancers that are emerging today could be a consequence of the patient’s work conditions very many years ago. This makes it impossible to prevent cases of cancer in the short term. However, it is important to consider the potential long-term impact.
Globally, work-related cancers are increasing in numbers. The reason for this is the increasing use of carcinogenic agents in industrial processes all over the world, - and the lack of preventive measures in many work places. Lack of knowledge, associated with the fact that cancers develop slowly over years of exposure, has resulted in a low degree of protection for workers in most occupations. All employers should have a main focus on implementing safety procedures to protect their workers from harmful exposures at work. At the same time, employees should be informed about adverse health effects due to carcinogenic agents in the work environment. This knowledge will help them to understand that implementing preventive measures today can actually protect them from developing a possibly lethal disease in the future.
© University of Bergen/Author: G. Tjalvin.