Occupational and environmental exposures

The Cancer Registry of Norway has, since the 1970s, conducted studies on cancer risk and mortality among various occupational groups and industries. Since 1999, studies on environmental pollutants and cancer risk have also been a crucial part of the research, such as using the Janus serum bank and laboratory analyses of cancer biomarkers and exposure biomarkers. The Cancer Registry currently has several active projects related to occupational and environmental exposure, with extensive national and international collaboration.
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To prevent cancer, it is essential to understand the causes of the disease. Historically, knowledge of cancer causes dates back several hundred years through observations and studies of cancer in various occupational groups. There were instances where differences in disease occurrence between an occupational group and the rest of the population were so clear that a connection between occupational exposure and disease became evident.

Today, the workplace in Norway and Europe, in general, is much safer than it was 60 years ago. Usually, the differences between low and high exposure to potentially carcinogenic substances are now smaller, thanks to increased knowledge, attention, and measures such as threshold values, protective equipment, and increased use of closed industrial processes. However, there is still a need for understanding the extent to which cancer incidence changes after such measures.

Some known and potential carcinogenic influences in the workplace also exist in the environment around us all, such as radon, benzene, asbestos, exhaust, and many of the "new" environmental pollutants (synthetic chemical substances). Although exposure levels are often lower than in the workplace, it is important to assess the significance of the impact on the general population. Is there a measurable risk associated with exposure at low levels over a long period? Do we know enough about new substances used in industrial settings to replace banned substances? These are issues explored in several national and international research projects.