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How common is occupational lung cancer?

You're diagnosed with lung cancer, and you're shocked. Yes, you have smoked a handful of cigars, but only on special occasions. Perhaps you have smoked a dozen in your life. You certainly do not smoke cigarettes or anything else on a regular basis, and you never have. How could you have gotten lung cancer?

While smoking is a huge cause of lung cancer, it's certainly not the only cause. Many people contract the disease as a result of exposure to harmful materials and chemicals while at work. Your chosen career could have massively increased your risk.

While the exact statistics often prove hard to pin down, studies have estimated that at least 13 percent of lung cancers that are found in adult men come from these job-site issues. The top estimates range all the way to 29 percent. If accurate, that means that nearly a third of all male lung cancer is from work conditions.

Moreover, experts note that this type of exposure can often be prevented. Safety gear and proper precautions can massively reduce or nearly eliminate the risk. Simple awareness can help tremendously, as many people are exposed to these harmful materials without even realizing it.

One key thing to note is that your employer should have given you information about potential exposure on the job by providing a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

After you develop occupational lung cancer, it's very important for you to know all of the legal options that you have. This is especially true if you were not given the proper information or safety gear in accordance with modern laws and regulations.

Source: Verywell, "Occupation as a Cause of Lung Cancer," Lynne Eldridge, MD, Feb. 19, 2018

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