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Work environments may subject workers to unknown carcinogens

Cancer is not really a single disease, but rather a group of diseases. A common trait of these diseases is that they all cause the spread and uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. But each kind of cancer can have its own possible causes. There are a variety of factors that could contribute to the development of a specific type of cancer. These factors could interact in ways that have yet to be explained by medical science and can include such things as genetics, diet, personal habits, age, race, and sex.

Another factor that can contribute to the development of cancer is exposure to carcinogens. And millions of our nation's workers are exposed to elements that have been tested and shown to be possibly carcinogenic to humans. But frighteningly, of all the physical and chemical agents processed or manufactured in the United States, less than 2 percent have been evaluated for carcinogenicity by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

This means that U.S. workers could be exposed to carcinogens that have not been formally recognized. And occupational cancer is no small matter. According to information found on the Centers for Disease Control's website, it is estimated that in 2012 there were as many as 91,745 new cancer cases that stemmed from past workplace exposure. But this number could be low due to so many potential unidentified cancer-causing agents.

Once a carcinogen has been identified in a work environment, employers should take steps to see to its reduction or find ways to protect workers. Occupational cancers can be prevented if employers are proactive and follow all available guidelines to keep workers safe.

If you have discovered you have some form of cancer that you believe resulted from carcinogenic exposure at work, you will likely be facing complicated and expensive treatment. To take full advantage of the benefits available to you through the workers' compensation program, you may wish to have an experienced attorney handle your claim.

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