Life Choices & Cancer

According to Duane Cross, our lifestyle may increase the risk of cancer. It’s always about choice and what we do in life that may increase our chance of cancer. Cross believes that some careers and cancer seem to go hand in hand.

Even though we eat right as per the experts, you might still be told you have cancer. A big fact is that our job may have more influence on cancer than all the right things we are doing. This is a very scary concept.

Some facts are:
The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters. Firefighters were often diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers about 30 years ago. The cancers today are more often leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. The fire departments in large cities report elevated cancer rates with the most aggressive cancers as oral, digestive, respiratory and urinary.

Breast cancer and melanoma are more prevalent in flight attendants. Non-melanoma skin cancer, uterine, gastrointestinal, cervical and thyroid cancers are now at a higher rate. The highest yearly dose of ionizing radiation on the job of all U.S. workers is received by air cabin crews. There was a 50% higher rate in female flight attendants than in the general population. There was a 50% higher rate in male flight attendants for melanoma and about 10% higher for non-melanoma skin cancers when compared with men from the general population.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a 2014 study that found people who spend more hours of the day sitting have a 66% higher risk for certain types of cancer. Sit less!

Twenty-four scientists from 10 countries met in 2007 at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France, to assess the carcinogenicity of shift-work, painting, and fire-fighting. Somewhere around 15-20% of all workers in the U.S. and Europe are engaged in shift work involving night work. This is prevalent in the healthcare, industrial manufacturing, mining, transport, communication, leisure, and hospitality sectors. Including night work which is the most disruptive for the circadian clock.

More than 900 likely candidates were evaluated by the IARC, placing them into one of the following groups: Carcinogenic to humans, probably carcinogenic to humans, possibly carcinogenic to humans, unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans and probably not carcinogenic to humans. Environment factors include lifestyle factors, naturally occurring exposures, medical treatments, workplace exposure, household exposure, and pollution. Our risk of developing a particular cancer is influenced by a combination of factors that interact in ways that are not completely understood that includes personal characteristics, family history of cancer, diet and personal habits, presence of certain medical conditions or treatments and exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace.

It is well documented that there are associations between occupational exposure and cancer, estimated at 3-6% of all cancers worldwide that are caused by exposures to carcinogens in the workplace. In 2012 there were between 45,872 and 91,745 new cancer cases caused by past workplaces.

Dr Fredda Branyon