The clinical appearance of occupational cancers is usually not different from that of cancers caused by other exposures. In fact, the specific cause or causes of an individual cancer cannot typically be determined. Medical treatment is the same for all cancers of the same type.

However, some cancers are predominantly of occupational origin. For example, mesothelioma (cancer of the cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers the chest, the abdomen, and the space around your heart) is in most cases caused by asbestos. For other types of cancer, notably lung cancer, the previous or simultaneous manifestation of related diseases such as silicosis as a result of inhalation of crystalline silica or asbestosis (fibrosis of the lung) after asbestos inhalation, indicate that a cancer is due to previous exposures to silica or asbestos, respectively.

In the European Union, cancers caused by occupational exposures could lead to compensation. When you suspect an occupational cause of your cancer, inform your physician in order to have a thorough medical evaluation of this possibility and, where appropriate, helping you to apply for compensation, provided your doctor confirms medical evidence following the general principles of the national legislation.