What Causes Cancer: Your Genes or Your Work?
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What Causes Cancer: Your Genes or Your Work?

Friday, September 18, 2009By Richard Alexander

Are some people doomed to cancer because of their genetic makeup, or does the environment in which a person lives and works determine his or her likelihood of acquiring the disease?

The overwhelming answer, which is supported by a huge body of research, is that the environment is the primary cause of cancer. For a few forms, heredity can make a person more susceptible, but heredity by itself never dooms anyone to cancer.The most extensive study on heredity’s contribution to cancer involved 44,788 pairs of twins in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. The study found that environment played a much bigger role than heredity in determining who contracted cancer, and the study’s clear conclusion was that “Inherited genetic factors make a minor contribution to susceptibility to most types of neoplasms. This finding indicates that the environment has the principal role in causing sporadic cancer.”

Heredity is actually much more than just a person’s genetic makeup. Heredity is also habits and lifestyles. The connection between smoking and lung cancer has been clearly known for more than 40 years but people still smoke, and children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to start smoking as children of parents who don’t smoke.

Children of overweight parents are 10 times more likely to be overweight than children of parents whose weight is normal, and research has showed that being overweight makes a person more susceptible to cancer.

Children can also acquire beneficial habits from their parents, and children who grow up in homes where their parents are conscious of their health are quite likely to acquire their parents’ good habits.

In the overall cancer picture, exposure to chemicals is the biggest cause of cancer. The human body has a strong defense system, and a single exposure to a toxic substance won’t cause cancer. Repeated exposures over many years breaks down the body’s immune system and cancer results.

Prolonged exposure to carcinogens at work is most likely to cause personal injury or wrongful death. Every employer has a legal obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace, and employers who ignore that obligation expose themselves to legal action by injured workers.

Solvents, such as benzene and methylene chloride, are a highly carcinogenic group of chemicals, and daily exposure to them is a significant cause of cancer. A solvent is a liquid chemical used to dilute or dissolve another substance, and industries such as printing, dry cleaning, rubber manufacturing, and textile manufacturing make heavy use of solvents.

Workers in those and many other industrial occupations face excessive risk of wrongful death if their employers fail to provide proper training and equipment.

Cancer can take many decades to develop, but the passage of time does not absolve an employer of responsibility for wrongdoing, and our firm has successfully represented many workers who suffered because of their exposure to dangerous and deadly chemicals.

If you have cancer because an employer required you to work with dangerous chemicals, contact us and learn how we can help you, as we have helped others.

If we can help you, please call us at 1.888.777.1776 or email us.

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Onward,

Richard Alexander

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