Shevchenko V. I.


SI «Institute for Occupational Health of NAMS of Ukraine», Kyiv

Full article (PDF), UKR

Introduction. Over the last 30 years the treatment of many cancer diseases is based on the anticancer chemotherapy. The growth of the number of patients, who need chemotherapy, using chemotherapy with high doses, is a combination of several preparations. A wide use of preparations for treatment of non-cancerous diseases results in the increase of negative effects on the health of medical workers, causing formation of high risk of development of work-related cancer pathology.

Purpose of the study: to assess the work-related cancer hazard for medical workers in their work with antineoplastic agents. Materials and methods. A deep analysis of anatomic-therapeutic-chemical classification of drugs for detection of drugs with cancer potential has been conducted. The industrial production and use of drugs with cancer potential in modern clinical practice in the world and in Ukraine have been defined. The assessment of exposure of workers engaged in clinical practice and in pharmaceutical industry, to the mentioned drugs has been made with account of their consequences for health. Results. It is established that a great amount of workers of medical institutions (7,2 thousand persons per year) are under potential risk of exposure to drugs with cancer potential at workplace (Adriamycin, Azathioprine, Busulfan, Dietilsilbestrol, Etoposide, Megestrol, Medroxyprogesterone, Melphalan, Procarbazine, Tamoxifen, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide). Negative consequences for health of the exposed workers are: increase of risk of development of acute leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphomas, cancer of the urinary bladder, mammary gland, uterus, ovary, skin, liver. Also, other non-cancerous consequences for health. Conclusion. The obtained data is the base for developing a risk-oriented system for prevention of work-related morbidity in workers, handling drugs with cancer potential in medical institutions.

Key words: cancer hazard, chemotherapy, medical workers, health risks


  1. Varyvonchyk, D. V., Shevchenko, V. I., 2013, Cancer hazard and morbidity of workers of the health care system, Ukrainian Journal of Occupational Health, no. 3, pp. 65–77 (in Ukrainian).
  2. Antineoplastic Agents, 1996, Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 9th ed., Eds.: J. G. Hardman, L. E. Limbird, New York. NY : McGraw-Hill, pp. 1233–1287.
  3. Cancer country profiles, 2014, WHO. Available at:
  4. Connor, Th. H., McDiarmid, M. A. 2006, «CA Cancer. Preventing occupational exposures to antineoplastic drugs in health Care Settings», CA Cancer, J. Clin., v. 56, no. 6, pp. 354–365.
  5. McDiarmid, M. A. 1993, Antineoplastics, Anesthetic Agents, Sex Steroid Hormones, Occupational and Environmental Reproductive Hazards: A Guide for Clinicians, Baltimore, MD, pp. 280–295.
  6. Medical oncology, 2003, World Cancer Report: (Eds: B.W. Stewart, P. Kleihues), pp. 281–291. Available at: 2003/wcr-6.pdf.
  7. Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings, 2004, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 165, NIOSH,Washington DC. Available at: niosh/docs/2004-165.