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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Workers Compensation Benefits Awarded for Breast Cancer

The Nevada Supreme Court has awarded workers' compensation benefits to a firefighter who alleged that her occupational exposure at work to toxic substances caused her breast cancer. The court held that there was substantial evidence that supported the finding that her exposure to known carcinogens was causally related to her breast cancer.

The injured worker was employed for the City of Las Vegas in 1992 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She under whet treatment and lost 8 to 9 months of work. In 2004 she suffered a recurrence of the breast cancer and under when a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

The Nevada statute defines what  a "carcinogen" is based upon the definition of the International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC] or the National Toxicology Program [NTP]. The former firefighter alleged that she was exposed to benzene, a know carcinogen. One of her expert witnesses, Dr. James Melius, testified that, "Several studies have found occupational exposure to benzene to be associated with breast cancer risk in both males and females."

Also her treating physician causally related her medical condition to her occupational exposure to carcinogens. He advised her to cease work as a firefighter.

City of Las Vegas v. Lawson, No. 53900, 126 Nev. Adv. Op. 52, 2010 WL 542282 (Nev. 2010) Decided December 30, 2010.

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