Lung Cancer and the Risk of Respiratory Disease

November is a now famous for being the time of ‘Movember’ the cause that addresses men’s health issues. But you might not be aware that November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Lung cancer accounts for about 22 percent of all cancer deaths*, and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women**. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of breast, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.

This should serve as a powerful reminder of how important the health of our lungs is, and how vital it is to protect them properly. This includes protecting them at work, and educating workers who may be exposed to respiratory hazards, in order to help reduce the rates of work related disease and deaths.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently published its annual statistics for 2016***. One that stands out in that 13,000 deaths each year are linked primarily to past exposures to chemicals and dusts. 90 percent of these deaths are respiratory related. Not all are lung cancer specific, but respiratory disease is a wide-reaching problem that comes in many names and forms. But the good news is that the preventative measures for one are the same for all.

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Other key findings by the HSE include:
• Annual deaths estimated to be linked to past exposure to chemicals or dusts at work: 13,000
• Annual estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems: 14,000
• Projected number of mesothelioma deaths per year for the rest of the decade: 2,500

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that usually develops in the lining of the lung. It’s usually linked to asbestos exposure. Deaths related to it are not projected to for several years.

The main future causes of occupational cancer are estimated to be from exposure to silica, diesel engine exhaust, solar radiation, shift work and working as painters and welders.****

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Choose the right Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for your workers

After other control measures have been implemented, RPE is the last line of defence, so it is critical that the right RPE programme is in place to protect your workforce from the hazards in the working environment.

Depending on the hazards present, some RPE may be more suited than others. A good starting point is to following our RPE selection checker to see whether you may be more suited for disposable, reusable or powered and supplied air.

A good starting point for this is our simple selection checker:

chart

The full guide, ‘Selection simplified’, can be found here: RPE Selection Simplified RPE.pdf

For more general information, please visit our Respiratory Protective Equipment page.


*http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/lung-cancer#heading-One

**http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Lungcancer/Pages/Lungcancermythsandfacts.aspx

***http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf

****http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/cancer/cancer.pdf

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