Associations between occupational exposures and cancer

Based on well-documented associations between occupational exposures and cancer, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 cancer deaths and 40,000 new cases of cancer each year in the U.S. are attributable to occupation.
Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to substances that have tested as carcinogens in animal studies. However, less than 2% of chemicals in commerce have been tested for carcinogenicity.
Cancer is a group of different diseases that have the same feature, the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Each different type of cancer may have its own set of causes. Many factors play a role in the development of cancer. The importance of these factors is different for different types of cancer. A person's risk of developing a particular cancer is influenced by a combination of factors that interact in ways that are not fully understood. Some of the factors include:
  • Personal characteristics such as age, sex, and race
  • Family history of cancer
  • Diet and personal habits such as cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption
  • The presence of certain medical conditions
  • Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the environment
  • Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace
In many cases, these factors may act together or in sequence to cause cancer.

CDC: occupational exposure and cancer