IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

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Research on Prevention against Occupational Cancer


Research on Prevention against Occupational Cancer

Carcinogenesis is a complex, multifactorial process that begins many years before clinical symptoms of cancer appear. Cancer is considered to be occupational in origin when it results from workplace exposure to a chemical, physical or biological agent, or from conditions inherent in a work activity. The disease would probably not have developed if the person had not done that job.

A number of studies have estimated that from 2% to 8% of all cases of cancer are attributable to work, depending on the country and the number of cancer sites and types considered.

Montreal Symposium on Occupational Carcinogens

Montreal Symposium on Occupational Carcinogens was organized in April 2017 to:

  • raise stakeholder awareness of the human and economic burden of occupational cancers;
  • discuss how research results could be used to promote the prevention of exposure to occupational carcinogens, as well as current and potential prevention strategies; and
  • mobilize the various actors to undertake prevention activities in their respective industries.

The Stakeholder Report presents the highlights of the Montreal meeting.

Occupational Cancer, a Thematic Program at IRSST

In its 2013–2017 Five-Year Plan the IRSST proposed a new thematic program on occupational cancers. This thematic program will be continued in the 2018-2022 Five-Year Plan. The long-term aim of this program is to help lower the incidence rate of these cancers in Québec. Several studies were already published under this thematic program.

Occupational Cancer in Quebec

The study entitled Estimating the Number of Cases of Occupational Cancer in Quebec presents an initial effort at quantifying the magnitude of the phenomenon of occupational cancer in Quebec. The purpose of the study was to estimate the number of cases of cancer that could be attributable to work, with respect to some 20 cancer sites or types among the most common and most frequently associated with the workplace. 

Exposure to carcinogenic substances or conditions

Another study published by the IRSST presents the results of the first stage in a project aimed at documenting the exposure of Québec workers to carcinogenic substances or conditions. It offers an important contribution to Québec knowledge about exposure to carcinogens.