Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 556 13
18/04/2013
E. Smith - B. Young - M. Ferrari
  • Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's)
  • Smoking (second-hand smoke)

The worker started working at a casino in 1998. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2007, at age 43. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The worker related her condition to exposure to second-hand smoke from 1998 until 2006, when the casino became smoke-free.
The Board obtained a review of the epidemiology by a respirologist. This was the only expert evidence that addressed the issue in the appeal. He was of the view that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that second-hand smoke was causative of the worker's cancer. The epidemiology suggests a low relative risk with respect to the relationship between second-hand smoke and cancers other than lung cancer (or possibly nasal or maxillary sinus cancer).
The Panel noted that there is no Board policy directly addressing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Panel considered it relevant to bear in mind criteria used by the Board to address other exposures. There is a well recognized relationship between lung cancer and exposure to asbestos. Board policy for lung cancer in asbestos workers requires 10 years of clear and adequate exposure and a 10-year latency period between first exposure and diagnosis.
The Panel concluded that there was insufficient probative evidence of a relationship between the worker's exposure and her cancer. The appeal was dismissed.