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The Risk of Contracting Bladder Cancer in your Work Place

One out of every 30 cancer cases in the Ireland each year is bladder cancer. It is the most prevalent malignant tumor of the urinary track and the fourth most frequently occurring cancer affecting men. It is the 11th most common cancer in women. Hundreds of new bladder cancer cases are reported in the Ireland each year alone and it is estimated that 5% to 10% were due to exposures at the work place.

What is Bladder Cancer and what causes it?

Like any other cancer, bladder cancer is a cell growth abnormality that is characterized by an uncontrollable division and multiplication of cells resulting in the formation of a mass or tumor in the bladder. In some cases, the cancer cells breakaway from the mass and reach other parts of the body spreading the malignant growth of cancer cells elsewhere in a process called metastasis.

Bladder Cancer may result from the ingestion, inhalation of, or bodily contact with gaseous or liquid chemical substances that are harmful to the body. These chemicals travel through the blood vessels into our kidneys to be filtered out and ultimately end up in the bladder to be excreted with the urine. In 99% of the bladder cases, it is believed that the contact with the accumulated carcinogenic waste chemical in the urine induced the adverse genetic change in the cells of the bladder resulting in the development of tumors.

The Symptoms

Bladder cancer is more common among the elderly with 9 out of 10 bladder cancer cases involving people with ages of 55 and above. The typical symptoms associated with bladder cancer include having traces of blood in the urine, more frequent urination, and a burning pain in urinating. Noticeable, these symptoms are also associated with other less serious health conditions affecting the kidneys and the urinary tract infections. If you are a person at risk, it is best that you undergo cancer screening test the moment these symptoms appear.

Who are at risk?

People who have been exposed to cancer causing chemicals in the workplace are at risk. Many of these carcinogenic substances have been identified and have already been banned today. However, because it takes up to 25 years for bladder cancer to develop, it means even if one had been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals many years ago, there is a chance that it may be the cause of the bladder cancer he is suffering from today. In which case, he is qualified to make a bladder cancer compensation claim.

Among the carcinogenic chemicals that have been linked to bladder cancer are:

  • Aromatic amines which are used in the manufacture of dyes for textiles, hair dyes, paints, pesticides, paper, and antioxidants in the rubber industry.
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or Arylamines that are used in coke production, manufacture of roofing and paving materials, metal founders and smelting, motor and engine exhausts.
  • The hydrocarbons in petrochemicals particularly Beta-napthylamine (BNA) and Benzadine which were extensively used in many industries such as automotive, aviation, and plastic industries but has since been banned many years earlier.

These chemicals placed many workers at a higher risk of occupational bladder cancer particularly the metal workers, miners, machinists, and transport equipment operators. Other occupations at risk include mechanics, painters and decorators, metal casters, chemical plant operators, leather workers, workers in the tire making industries and workers in the printing industry. Dock workers who handle sacks of ‘carbon black’ that is used to make inks, dyes or pigments are also at risk.

Making a Bladder Cancer Compensation Claim

Making any personal injury compensation claim including a bladder cancer compensation claim is a tedious process in the Ireland. A definitive proof has to be established that indeed the disease is work related. There is also a standard 3 year limit for the claim to be made. The legal claim must be filed in court within 3 years of the accident or in the case of a bladder cancer compensation claim within 3 years after the claimant learned about the disease. After which period no other claim can be filed if none has been filed previously.

That is why it is important that a claim be filed as soon as you learn about your condition. It is also important that you seek the assistance of a solicitor to be able to put up a valid claim. In case the disease resulted in death, the survivors have to file the claim within 3 years after the death of the principal.

This underscores the importance of today’s Work Accident Book a government requirement on all companies with 10 employees or more. The work accident book is meant to record any and all accidents that happen within the company premises no matter how big or small they may be. Such a record simplifies the paper trail when a claim is filed.

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