It is widely accepted that occupational cancer accounts for about 4 to 8% of cancer cases. Some sources put this as high as 20%.
It affects certain groups of the society much more than others. Furthermore, occupational risks for cancer are often taken involuntarily, as opposed to some major lifestyle risks. Occupational cancer is entirely preventable and interventions at the workplace can save millions of lives every year.
There is no doubt that the number of deaths from occupational cancer far exceeds the number of deaths due to workplace accidents.
Some progress has been made, particularly with regards to the controls of carcinogens in work, in many countries. Known carcinogens such as asbestos are now banned in many parts of the world but unfortunately not everywhere.
ICOH is very aware of the burden of occupational cancer and at this year’s Congress it is a major topic for discussion. This begins on the first night of the Congress with the keynote speech which is been given by Doctor Kurt Straif of the International Agency Research on Cancer.
The Policy Forum on Tuesday morning is dedicated, this year, to occupational cancer. It will involve contributions from many of the world’s leading Health and Safety organisations as well as International experts. It will also involve significant audience participation. It is hoped the output of this Policy Forum will enable a key set of proposals or principles be set forth as recommendations to reduce the burden of occupational cancer on humanity worldwide. It is hoped that this will be another step in the journey to eradicate this entirely preventable group of diseases.
The Policy Forum will be a highlight of the Congress and every delegate is encouraged to attend, for what promises to be, a very important event.