Cancers associated with occupational exposure include:
- bladder cancer (arsenic; aromatic amines; coal tars and pitched, diesel engine exhaust; work as a hairdresser or barber; metalworking fluids and mineral oils; work as a painter; work in the rubber industry)
- bone cancer (ionising radiation)
- brain and other central nervous system cancers (ionising radiation )
- breast cancer (ionising radiation; ethylene oxide
- colon and rectal cancer (asbestos, ionising radiation)
- kidney cancer (arsenic, cadmium; coke production; trichloroethylene)
- laryngeal cancer (asbestos; work in the rubber industry: strong inorganic acid mists including sulphuric acids)
- leukaemia (benzene, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, ionising radiation, non-arsenical insecticides)
- liver and biliary cancer (ionising radiation; trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride )
- lung cancer (arsenic; asbestos; beryllium; cadmium; chromium; coal gasification, coal tar and pitches, cobalt; coke production, diesel engine exhaust, dioxins; inorganic lead; iron and steel foundry work, mineral oils; nickel; work as a painter; natural radon in workplaces, ; ionising radiation, rubber production; silica; strong inorganic acid mists; work as a welder)
- melanoma of the eye (welding)
- mesothelioma (asbestos)
- nasal and sinus cancer (chromium, formaldehyde, leather dust, nickel, textile industry, wood dust)
- non-hodgkin’s disease (work as a hairdresser or barber, non-arsenical insecticides, work as a painter, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene)
- non-melanoma skin cancer (coal tars and pitches, mineral oils, solar radiation)
- oesophageal cancer (soots; tetrachloroethylene)
- pharyngeal cancer (asbestos)
- stomach cancer (asbestos).
It can take many years for symptoms of cancer to be noticeable and these usually differ depending on the type of cancer. It’s not possible to list all the symptoms that could be caused by every type of cancer, but some common symptoms include:
- general weakness
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches/unexplained pain
- shortness of breath (lung related cancers)
- persistent cough or hoarseness
- difficulty in swallowing
- altered bowel habits
- lump somewhere on the body
- night sweats
- reddish, scaly patchy skin
- abnormal bleeding.
The specific forms of occupational cancers which are currently compensable under the Department for Work and Pensions Industrial Injuries and Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme are listed below.
- Leukaemia or cancer of the bone, breast, testis or thyroid due to exposure to electromagnetic radiation or ionising particles
- Acute non-lymphatic leukaemia due to exposure to benzene
- Skin cancer due to exposure to arsenic, arsenic compounds, tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil (including paraffin) or soot
- Sinonasal cancer due to exposure to nickel compounds or to wood, leather and fibre-board dust
- Lung cancer due to exposure to asbestos or nickel compounds or to work as a tin miner, exposure to bis(chloromethyl) ether, zinc, calcium or strontium chromates or silica exposure.
- Bladder cancer due to exposure various compounds during chemical manufacturing or processing, including 1-naphthylamine, 2-naphthylamine, benzidine, auramine, magenta, 4-aminobiphenyl, MbOCA, orthotoluidine, 4-chloro-2-methylaniline, and coal tar pitch volatiles produced in aluminium smelting.
- Angiosarcoma of the liver due to exposure to vinyl chloride monomer.
Peer reviewed by:
Dr Lesley Rushton OBE, Imperial College London