Very few people will go through life without experiencing a family tragedy involving cancer. Unfortunately, it touches many people and usually when you least expect it. While cancer can affect anyone leading any lifestyle, it can also be associated with different professions as well. Read on to learn which trades may be putting their workers more at risk than others.
Mining and Construction
Mining and construction are dangerous industries for many reasons. There are risks everywhere you look, and trades workers continue to have the highest number of claims by occupation. While heavy machinery and plant operations can put anyone at risk, it’s what you often don’t see that can be where the trouble lies.
Every year, around 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos, a cancer-causing material. Asbestos-associated cancers include lung, larynx, ovary, and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is cancer that forms on your mesothelium, which is tissue that covers your internal organs.
Mesothelioma is more commonly associated with the lung lining and chest walls. Some people also get it on their stomach lining or even the sac surrounding their heart. Over 80 percent of mesothelioma cases are linked to asbestos exposure, reiterating the dangers of this hazardous material.
Those who have mesothelioma may notice they feel short of breath, are losing weight, feel tired, have a cough, feel pain in their chest wall, or have a swollen abdomen. A diagnosis can be made through a CT scan and chest x-ray.
Those who are exposed to asbestos in the construction industry will not get mesothelioma right away, or even within a few years. This nasty form of cancer can form as late as four decades from your time of exposure.
However, it’s not just construction that poses a cancer risk, but mining too. Miners are at significant risk of asbestos exposure, but can also encounter radon and uranium in their line of work as well. Common cancers in mine workers include brain, stomach, thyroid, and mesothelioma.
With a lack of heavy machinery or dangerous minerals, you would think that an office job would be as safe as you could get. However, the sedentary working environment of an office employee puts them at risk of cancer and other health conditions.
If you sit in front of a screen or a vehicle and don’t regularly partake in exercise, then you have the same risks of dying as someone who smokes or is obese. Extended periods of sitting can also cause high cholesterol and blood pressure, excess body fat, and high blood sugar levels.
Forestry and Agriculture
When you get to work in the great outdoors all the time, you might think you’re the luckiest person alive. You get to enjoy nature, breathe in that fresh air, and work on your suntan. However, those UV rays may not be doing you any good in the long term.
Those in outdoor jobs can be putting themselves at risk of melanoma or skin cancer. If you have a family history of skin cancer or fair skin, then you’re even more at risk than others. Excess UV exposure can also cause cortical cataracts, eye cancer, sun spots, and sunburn.
If it’s not the sun that’s putting you at risk, then it’s the chemicals that could be. Exposure to fertiliser, pesticides, and other chemicals regularly may put you at risk of cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia.
Flight attendants get into their line of work for the passion of flying and travel, but the cancer risks are possibly something they never expected. According to Environmental Health Journal studies, cabin crews are exposed to a lot more ionising radiation at high altitudes than anyone else. The result of which is a risk of cancers such as breast, uterus, cervix, colon, liver, pancreas, stomach, and oesophagus.
Other research shows that the rate of breast cancer in flight attendants is 50 percent higher than those who are not in that industry.
While the risk of cancer is less common now than it used to be, it may still be a reality for many. Back in the 1970s, aromatic amines were present in hair dyes that could increase the risk of bladder cancers. While they are no longer present, those same chemicals have still been found in the bloodstreams of some hairdressers. You can reduce the risk by wearing chemicals and working in a well-ventilated area.
Unfortunately, no one can ever truly stop cancer from affecting themselves or someone they love. It’s a significant risk in the construction and mining industry due to mesothelioma-causing asbestos, and there are risks in several other professions as well. What you can do, however, is be aware of the risks. Take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.