Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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Carcinogens are organisms or substances that can cause cancer. They can be natural, such as certain viruses or ultraviolet rays, or they could be man-made, like car fumes and cigarettes. Some carcinogens are more obvious, including asbestos and alcohol, but others might be less so.
According to the Cancer FactFinder, which is run by Harvard University, having the occupation of a painter could increase your risk of a tumour.
This is due to the thousands of chemical compounds found in paint.
The risk is considered so great that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the job of a painter as a “group one carcinogen”, due to the link between the occupation to lung cancer, urinary bladder cancer and mesothelioma.
Group one carcinogens are agents that are definitely carcinogenic to humans.
Currently there are 120 substances, foods and other things classified within group one.
The Cancer FactFinder explains: “Paint chemicals contain thousands of chemical compounds.
“The main organic solvents used in paints are toluene, xylene, aliphatic compounds, ketones, alcohols, esters, and glycol esters.
“The amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released are similar to those of water-based paints.
“People who work in the paint industry are exposed to the chemicals found in paint products during their application and removal.
“In the past, exposure to hazardous substances often exceeded current occupational limits, but exposure levels have greatly decreased over time.”
It recommends ways to reduce the risk when using paint.
“Paint chemical exposure poses the greatest risk in a workplace setting,” it says.
“If you work with paint on a regular basis, it is important to wear masks and other protective gear to avoid exposure.
“In addition, during the first couple of days after paint is applied, keep away from it and increase ventilation out of the indoor space.”
It warns: “Don’t paint your home while you’re pregnant.”
General symptoms of cancer include unexplained weight loss, heavy night sweats, fatigue and a lump or swelling.
If you have cancer you could also experience:
- Changes to your skin
- Symptoms that affect eating
- Symptoms that affect your voice and breathing
- Changes in your poo or pee
- Unexplained bleeding or blood
- A mouth ulcer or patch that won’t heal
- Persistent bloating
- Unusual breast changes.
Other group one carcinogens include:
- UV sunbeds
- Processed meat
- Diesel fumes.
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