Aug 04

Cancer Prevention in the Workplace

The workplace can greatly impact  your health, we are at work more than we are at home and if your job involves chemicals and other dangerous hazards you need to be aware of how this can impact your health. I recently came across an article on the CDC website and think it is worth pointing out a few ways we can help our employees be more aware of their health and potential problems that can become life threatening problems:

Harmful exposures in the Workplace: Asbestos, diesel exhaust and radon are examples of harmful substances that may be present in workplace settings. These substances can increase a person’s risk for certain types of cancer and should be eliminated or reduced as much as possible. Second hand smoke (from others smoking around you) increases risks of cancers for employees that don’t smoke themselves but are exposed to it in the workplace. Workers who are outside the majority of the day in the heat and direct sunlight are more at risk for certain types of skin cancer.

Ways to help prevent: Provide face masks to help reduce the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes. Provide proper ventilation. Make your office a smoke free work place, have designated areas if you need too, but eliminate any smoking in working areas. Provide protective clothing, shade when possible and sunscreen to prevent burning and too much exposure to the sun.

Unhealthy Behaviors: Certain behaviors can also increase the risk of cancer; tobacco use (including chewing tobacco), excessive alcohol consumption, poor eating habits and lack of physical activity.

Ways to prevent: Again stressing the importance of a smoke free workplace will greatly reduce this risk, Workplace wellness involving lunch and learns on certain key health topics such as eating healthy and stress management, walking programs and healthier choices in vending machines.

Chronic Conditions: Diabetes and obesity are examples of chronic conditions that increase risk for certain types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrium and pancreas cancers.

Ways to Prevent: workplace wellness programs with nutritional advice, weight management programs and preventive screenings can help employees be more aware and successfully manage or even prevent chronic conditions.


Pairing with Partners in the Community

Employers can and should partner with community organizations. For example local fitness clubs and provide reduced memberships, local farmers markets that promote fresh fruits and vegetables, partner with a Dr. office that might help set up screenings and flu shots in your office. Small to medium sized companies can really benefit from such partnerships.


Please see this related article on key factors and prevention.

if you offer any of the above suggestions or alternative prevention strategies please comment.


CDC – Cancer in the workplace

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