Don’t be a victim of ‘workplace cancer’

2016-09-08 06:00

NOT many people are aware of occupational or workplace cancer.

As part of Cansa’s awareness programmes, Cansa South Coast shared a story of one of their patients.

A domestic worker, under the care of Cansa Port Shepstone for lung cancer, said there is the chance she has become a victim of occupational cancer.

The 40-year-old woman, who wants to remain anonymous because keeping her job is paramount, has been working for her employers for over 10 years and they smoke in her presence.

“I have worked for the family since 2002, and have tried to talk to them about the risk of smoking in my presence. I was told ‘this is our home and you can’t tell us what to do’.”

The woman cannot prove she has been affected by their passive smoking, but feels it somehow contributed to the fact.

She said the employers are aware she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

“My employers still smoke around me, knowing I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago,” she said.

“It hurts that even though they are aware of my illness they haven’t done anything to improve my working conditions. The other thing is I live on their premises,” she said.

She said she would like to spread the word to domestic workers.

“They must look after themselves. If they have the courage to speak up and report the situation to the right authorities, they must do so. They must also be aware of their rights when it comes to working conditions.”

Lisa Strydom of Cansa said there are steps that victims of occupational cancer can take.

“If employees are concerned about environmental carcinogens at work, this should first be discussed with the employer or the health and safety representative at the workplace.

“If appropriate safety and/or protection procedures are not in place and the employer refuses to engage in a discussion around this, employees can contact the environmental health officer at their municipality or the Department of Labour and ask them to inspect the property and take appropriate action.”

She said in this domestic worker’s case it is unfortunate that the Tobacco Products Control Act does not include private homes, so it is difficult to provide legal protection for the employee, besides appealing to the goodwill of them.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.