What Is Cancer and What Causes It?
In medical terms, cancer is any disease that causes the development of abnormal cells that replicate uncontrollably in the body. Usually, healthy cells have the inherent ability to detect and destroy the mutated DNA that creates these abnormal, or cancerous cells. When your healthy cells are unable to repair the mutations, the abnormal DNA takes over and cancerous cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably in their place.
This scenario is scary enough, but add in the fact that cancerous cells have a longer lifespan than healthy cells, and you find the cancer growing into a tumor. When a tumor becomes big enough, it seeks out its own blood supply and the nutrients that will allow it to rapidly grow until it’s surgically removed or the patient dies. Thankfully, not all cancers develop into tumors. However, the ones that do not can still become fatal when they spread into other parts of the body.
What Environmental Factors Are the Key?
Since there is no cure for cancer yet, much research has been dedicated to finding out what causes cancer and how we can avoid exposure to those causes in our daily lives. Unfortunately, some of us can’t avoid it. Studies have shown that roughly 10 percent of cancer victims are born with small mutations in their DNA that laid the groundwork for the cancer they developed later in life. In other cases, environmental factors are proven to be the initiator of the disease. Examples of this are UV light from the sun, or carcinogens (chemicals) that build up in the lungs of smokers.
If the environments you work or live in continually expose to you carcinogens like cigarette smoke, asbestos, arsenic, chromium and benzene, your risk of getting cancer and other diseases increases dramatically. In fact, the National Cancer Institute released a report in 2004 that stated at least 80% of all cancer cases are due to environmental factors such as these. Two to eight percent of that number is attributed to chemical exposure in the workplace – and an astounding one-third of all environmentally caused cancers are attributed to cigarette smoke and tobacco use.
Is My Working Environment to Blame for My Cancer?
Since the environment causes 80% of all cancers, you should definitely investigate whether your working environment is to blame. There is a high probability that this is the case if you do work with dangerous chemicals on a daily basis. And, due to extensive research in this area, most dangerous chemicals can now be linked to specific cancers. For instance, metals such as arsenic are linked with bladder, lung and skin cancer, and pesticide exposure is linked with brain cancer, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
By researching your particular cancer and illuminating connections such as these, you may be able to build a case against your employer. If it can be proven in court that your employer acted negligently in exposing you to a dangerous chemical that caused your cancer, it is possible to sue for damages related to your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
These cases can be difficult to prosecute, however, because it is often hard to draw conclusive links between the chemicals and your cancer when other causes cannot be ruled out. But, that should not prevent you from contacting an experienced toxic tort attorney. Most attorneys who litigate toxic tort lawsuits won’t charge you unless he or she wins or settles your case out of court, so it is never a bad idea to seek legal counsel and discuss your options.
If you or someone you know has contracted cancer as a result of personal injury, please contact a personal injury attorney such as Silberstein, Awad, and Miklos in New York, New York.