Did work cause me to develop cancer?

Pictured at his Kieverton Park home is Dennis Bradnum  who has bladder cancer with his wife
Pictured at his Kieverton Park home is Dennis Bradnum who has bladder cancer with his wife

BLADDER cancer patient Dennis Bradnum spent decades working as a draughtsman in an engineering firm - where his job regularly brought him into contact with chemicals used on the printing machines.

There was no suggestion at the time that anything he worked with could be a danger to health and no safety procedures were in place specifying a certain way of use.

Now the 72-year-old, who was first diagnosed with bladder cancer eight years ago, is set to take part in a pioneering research study to find out if there are links between certain workplace chemicals and incidences of the disease.

His condition has been monitored at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital - the same place the project will be carried out - since it was first diagnosed, and he has undergone specialist therapy there to stop his tumours growing back.

But just before Christmas he and his wife Sylvia were told his disease had progressed and he needed to undergo surgery to remove his bladder and prostate.

A former smoker of 10 years, Mr Bradnum does not know whether his life’s work - and the printing chemicals he came into contact with - has also affected his prognosis.

The grandfather-of-four said: “I worked as a draughtsman in light engineering for the majority of my life.

“The chemicals that were used were on the printing machines. We didn’t really know anything about them or any potential risks they might have had. As far as we were concerned, we used them on the machine until they ran out and then we added more.

“There were no safety measures in place and nobody realised what implications there might be.

“I would feel happy to understand my illness further, although as I have since found out smoking is one of the main causes of bladder cancer, I think it could be difficult to break it down.”

Mr Bradnum said he was happy to be taking part in the project, which he hoped could help sufferers of the illness now and in the future.

“When Mr Catto told me about the project I was keen to take part,” he said.

“My father-in-law suffered from the same complaint so, as far as I am concerned, anything that can uncover more information about the causes and the reasons behind it is a good thing.

“Anything that might help other people in the same situation is useful.”

Pathologist Dr Kim Suvarna, who is based at the Northern General Hospital and specialises in industrial disease pathology, said he was pleased to hear about the new research programme.

“Anything that allows society and relatives of the deceased to get a handle on why their nearest and dearest has died is a good thing, since understanding something is half the way to getting a degree of closure,” he said.

“It will also be important looking ahead, since if we find something is toxic then of course we do not want to use it.

“The work with living patients who have had more recent exposure should be useful for pathologists, since often by the time we are carrying out our investigations the chemicals have been washed out of the system, even though they have left the damage behind.”