Many work and non-work related factors can cause cancer. Furthermore, cancer cases often present themselves many years after the relevant exposure took place. Therefore, it is difficult to know whether a particular case of cancer has been caused by work. However, it is possible to estimate in a large population the number of cancer cases that could be due to work.
By looking at the number of workers who had been exposed to cancer causing agents in the past and the risk of cancer from these exposures, the research study on the burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain has estimated the proportion of all new cancer cases in the national statistics that could be due to work. Based on the estimated proportion, the study calculated the number of occupational cancer registrations in 2004 and cancer deaths in 2005 in Great Britain. The researchers have also developed methods to estimate the number of occupational cancer cases in the future for a range of scenarios. This will enable us to compare the potential impacts of different interventions on occupational cancer reduction. Further information on occupational cancer burden research.