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The three types of carcinogens and how they cause cancer

In our daily lives, we are often exposed to chemicals. In fact, potentially deadly chemicals are everywhere, from carbon monoxide contained in vehicle exhaust to a variety of toxins found in household cleaners. But fortunately, our exposure to these chemicals is typically in relatively safe amounts and for very brief periods of time.

However, the workplace can be a very different matter. Many people have jobs that are rife with dangerous chemicals, and they may work for years in these hazardous environments. If your job requires you to work in close proximity to dangerous chemicals, you may have to wear a mask and other protective gear while on site. This is because exposure to certain chemicals can ultimately cause cancer.

Whether you develop cancer due to chemical exposure is contingent upon how your body processes, or "metabolizes," a chemical. There are three types of chemicals, known as carcinogens, that can cause cancer:

  • Procarcinogens, which cause cancer due to being changed during metabolism.
  • Cocarcinogens, which cause cancer by acting with another chemical.
  • Direct acting carcinogens, which can cause cancer as is.

Cancer can be caused if a carcinogen damages a person's DNA cells to the point of being irreparable. But cancer can also be caused by inherited genetic mutations. Moreover, it can take a long time for cancer to be detected. When you take these factors into account, you can understand why it is difficult to determine the true cause of cancer after it has been discovered.

And this means that if you suspect that you developed cancer due to your working conditions and want to receive compensation for medical care and other damages, you may have to put forth a great effort to prove your illness is work-related. As you may expect, companies and insurance agencies are not anxious to foot the medical bills for cancer treatment. Therefore, because so much is on the line, you may want to have an experienced workers' compensation attorney help you seek an appropriate settlement.

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