Cancer in veterinarians

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Prahran 3181, Australia.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 06/2000; 57(5):289-97. DOI: 10.1136/oem.57.5.289
Source: PubMed


Veterinarians come into contact with several potentially carcinogenic exposures in the course of their occupation. These exposures include radiation, anaesthetic gases, pesticides (particularly insecticides), and zoonotic organisms. This review aims to summarise what is known about the carcinogenic risks in this profession.
The levels of exposure to potential carcinogens in the veterinary profession are examined and evidence is reviewed for carcinogenesis of these substances in humans at doses similar to those experienced by veterinarians. The few published studies of cancer in veterinarians are also summarised.
Veterinarians have considerable potential for exposure to several known and potential carcinogens. Risks may be posed by work in clinics with poorly maintained x ray equipment, by use of insecticides, and from contact with carcinogenic zoonotic organisms. The few studies available suggest that veterinarians have increased mortality from lymphohaematopoietic cancers, melanoma, and possibly colon cancer.
The exposures examined in this review are not unique to the veterinary profession, and, as a consequence, information gathered on the carcinogenic risks of these exposures has implications for many other occupations such as veterinary nurses, animal handlers, and some farmers, as well as dentists, radiographers, and anaesthetists.

Download full-text


Available from: Lin Fritschi
  • Source
    • "Environmental issues include toxicity to non-target insects (Overmyer et al., 2005), accumulation in the environment and possible toxicity to pets and people who are prone to higher exposure to the flea control agents (Ames et al., 1989; Fritschi, 2000). Although the latter are attributed mainly to older-generation insecticides such as organophosphates and organochlorides (reviewed by Hovda et al., 2002), adverse possibilities have spurred motivation to develop efficient flea traps that can match the efficiency of the chemical control agents sold on the market. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Comparisons were conducted of flea catches of four commercially available flea traps in the laboratory and under field conditions, in both rural and urban locations. The results clearly showed the My Flea Trap™, which utilizes an intermittent light to attract fleas, to be far superior in trapping ability to the three continuous light traps; it caught up to 23 times as many fleas as the other traps. Altering the lighting mechanism to provide continuous rather than intermittent light significantly decreased the number of fleas captured. In addition, the use of a green filter significantly increased trapping efficiency, whereas the addition of a heat source had no apparent effect.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Medical and Veterinary Entomology
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To identify occupational causes of disease and injury in veterinarians and their staff. A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to all of the 160 registered veterinary practices in Western Australia. Injuries accounted for most workers' compensation claims over a 12-month period with 31% of respondents losing a total of 360 work days with a mean of 13.3 days whereas non-occupational diseases such as influenza accounted for 408 work days lost. Over a 10-year period, 71% of respondents had been injured. The major physical injuries were dog and cat bites, cat scratches, scalpel blade cuts and back injuries from lifting heavy animals. Exposure to chemicals such as flea rinses, formalin, glutaraldehyde, x-ray developers and gaseous anaesthetics were reported to cause headache, nausea and allergies. Thirty percent of respondents did not have extractor fans for scavenging waste anaesthetic gases. The study showed high use of radiography (94%) for diagnostic purposes with 24% of respondents believing radiation exposure is a major occupational health and safety issue. Stress, drug abuse, suicide and burglary were also reported. Despite a high awareness of zoonotic diseases, there were very few reports of these. Injuries and other occupational hazards reported together with work days lost demonstrate a need for improving the working environment of veterinarians and their staff and the development of comprehensive health and safety programs.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2000 · Australian Veterinary Journal
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: NO ABSTRACT: Introduction The aetiology of Multiple Myeloma is generally acknowledged as obscure. (1) The epidemiology presents a number of puzzles. Most cancers are the affliction of age. Myeloma is more remarkably so, with few cases under the age of 40, (0.3% under 30), 98% above this demarcation line and a median incidence age of 65 years. (2) (Figure I). Whilst sporadic community(3) and familial(4,5) clusters have occurred, - and indeed, even husband and wife cases(6,7), - to date no evidence of genetic predisposition has been discovered(5), and failure to find a definitive environmental cause for the community clusters might suggest that such cases are simply random, given the statistical low incidence relative to Myeloma incidence in general.(3,7) Myeloma also affects more men than women, more blacks than whites, at a relatively earlier age than whites, and farmers more than the general population. (8) A French study noted a 40% excess prevalence, age- and sex-adjusted, amongst farmers, relative to other occupations.(9) Other at-risk groups include foresters(8), fishermen(8), veterinarians (10), teachers(11), anaesthesiologists(12), radiologists, and anyone exposed to ionising radiation.(8) Though the latter would seem an obvious risk factor, intriguingly the proportion of atom bomb victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki who ultimately developed Myeloma seems relatively small, if still significant.(8) Indeed, Myeloma is a rare cancer, accounting for no more than 1% of all cancers, and 10% of all haematopoietic malignancies(2), although its incidence, as with the majority of all cancers, is on the increase.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2002 · Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
Show more