Worldwide, workplace cancer prevention has a much lower profile than workplace injury prevention, despite a real and present need to elevate the profile of workplace cancer prevention around the globe. Numerous organizations around the globe attest to the high number of annual work-related cancers and cancer deaths, but then invariably go on to say workplace cancer statistics are underestimated, the problem is even worse than statistics bear out, and the profile of workplace cancer prevention needs to be elevated. This apparent consensus begs several questions. This paper will explore, with the help of reputable resources from around the globe, the following questions:
What is occupational cancer, how prevalent is it, and what are its causes?
Why does cancer prevention have a much lower profile than workplace injury prevention?
Are current occupational exposure limits (OELs) for carcinogens adequate?
What are the problems associated with cancer cluster investigations, how reliable are they, and what needs to be done to improve them?
What must be done to advance the cause of workplace cancer prevention?
What are some valuable resources available to those wishing to help advance the cause of workplace cancer prevention?
What Is Cancer, and How Prevalent Is It?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 14th Report on Carcinogens, 2016, cancer affects almost everyone's life, either directly or indirectly; about 1 out of 2 men and 1 out of 3 women living in the United States will develop cancer at some point in his or her lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.