3 Common Occupational Cancers and How to Claim Compensation

3 Common Occupational Cancers and How to Claim Compensation

Our jobs are a significant part of our lives. It is how we put food on the table, care for our loved ones and make sure that the rainy-day pot stays full. Since we spend a major chunk of our day at the workplace, its environment significantly impacts our mental and physical well-being.

What is an Occupational Illness?

Some professions like construction working, farming, mining, metal and furniture work put workers at a high risk of contracting health disorders. Employees must spend time in radioactive fumes, carcinogenic chemicals, aggressive dust particles, and toxic pollutants to fulfill their responsibilities. ‘Occupational Illnesses’ are health hazards that result from workplace exposure to hazardous chemical, biological or physical agents. These conditions develop overtime, as long-term exposure to even mild toxins can cause harm if inhaled or ingested.

The government has enforced laws to ensure that citizens and employees at high risk are secure at all costs. Under the Organizational Health and Safety Act, all institutes must observe workplace hygiene, sanitation and supply personal protective equipment to ensure their workers’ safety. Failure to do so may result in compensation to the victims or their families, especially if the ratio of the disease is higher in workers of that organization. Financial compensation is crucial as it helps victims receive medical treatment and manage their expenses. Tackling the law is by no means an easy task. Many firms now assist employees in seeking justice, comprehending the requirements, and filing complaints. You may click here to read more if you, too, are someone who requires expert assistance in the case of an occupational disorder. These organizations have a team of professionals representing victims in court, providing support and guidance through this rough time.

Common Occupational Cancers:

Knowledge is key to leading a healthy life. Workers in a risky environment need to know about the severe consequences of their surroundings. Awareness about these illnesses will force workers to observe caution and not take troubling symptoms lightly. Here we have compiled a list of thethree most common occupational cancers so that you know what to look out for.

Lung Cancer:

Perhaps the most common cancer caused by occupational pollutants is lung cancer. However, some parts of the population are more exposed to these toxins than others.

Amongst all forms of lung cancer, mesothelioma is perhaps the deadliest. Research is still ongoing about its causes. However, scientists believe it is a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Many studies have demonstrated a strong link between this condition and asbestos exposure, a naturally present mineral within our environment. Asbestos may be present in construction materials and possesses hightensile strength.

Additionally, it is non-degradable and strongly resistant to heat and electricity. In its raw state, the element doesn’t t do much harm, but it transitions into lethal miniscule fibers when disintegrated. If inhaled or ingested, these particles settle down within the linings of various organs,releasingtoxins and causing irritation. The inflammatory responsecauses mutations within the DNA of healthy cells. Genetically altered cells function abnormally and multiplyquickly, leading to a malignant mass of cells.

Symptoms: They are dependent on the region of the respiratory tract affected and the extent to which the disease has spread. Some symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic cough
  • Trouble breathing when doing mundane tasks like walking or talking
  • Insomnia
  • Pain in upper-arm and shoulders
  • Only being able to properlybreathe when sitting upright
  • Cyanosis – skin adopts a bluish-purple tint due to lack of oxygen supply

Skin cancer:

Skin cancer or melanoma caused by occupational hazards is prevalent. Our skin is the first in line to come in direct contact with toxicphysical or chemical agents. Cancer can affect nearly all skin regions ranging from the scalp, face, and lips to the chest, arms, and legs. While this cancer tends to attack anyindividual, studies have shown certain masses of the population are more prone to it than others. Some occupations require workers to experience repeated exposure to allergens like sawdust, radioactive fumes from machinery, battery fuel, acidic chemicals, and carcinogens from the sun’s UV rays. All of these are factors causing melanoma.

Symptoms: Skin cancer is one of the most complex cancers to treat, and recovery is only possible if the condition is diagnosed at its earlier stages. Common symptoms that one must keep in mind include:

  • Formation of new moles, or change in color, size, and texture of existing ones
  • A large brown-red spot or rash with darker speckles
  • A small lesion with irregular borders that itches or burns
  • Bluish-black, pink, white, or purple colored scaly and dry lesions

Gastric Cancer:

Poor lifestyle choices, consumption of unhygienic food, excessive alcohol intake are all known risk factors for numerous digestive tract disorders. But recent studies have demonstrated a strong connection between occupational hazards and gastric cancer. For example, workers who tackle mineralslike coal, tin, steel, iron, and asbestosform a larger ratio of stomachcancer cases than the general population. Although the elements may be harmless in their natural state, they transition to small fragments upon disintegration. If ingested or inhaled, these non-degradableparticles can accumulate within the peritoneum, a membranous layer surrounding the abdominal cavity.Accumulation of toxins can leadto excessfluid retention within the membrane,causingenlargement of the peritoneum and pressure exertion on the abdominal cavity. The excess force obstructs nutrition and oxygen supply to digestive organs, including the stomach.

Symptoms: During the earlier stage, symptoms are relatively mild and involve indigestion, stomach discomfort, nausea, heartburn, and loss of appetite. At more advanced stages, patients experience:

  • Sudden and unexpected weight loss
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Abdominal bloating and development of ascites
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Swollen limbs due to excess fluid retention.
  • The skin takes on a yellowish tint, which can indicate excessive bile production.

How To Claim Compensation for Occupational Cancer?

While seeking compensation from your employer may seem daunting, know that it is your legal right to do so as someone afflicted by an occupational illness. These steps aren’t easy to go through. Hence hiring a professional attorney is essential.

  1. Contact your supervisor in writing or verbally to file a claim. Communicate your symptoms, diagnosis, current physical state, and the incident which caused the illness. Mention any witnesses to the event if you can.
  2. Your employer will then provide you with a Notice of Accident and Claim for Compensation The supervisor is legally bound to forward this form to the compensation commissioner. The organization should provide an additional report called the ‘employer’s report of the accident’ to hear the company’s perspective.
  3. Employers must report workplace injuries and occupational disease within 7-14 days. Failure to do can result in an added fine.
  4. The worker afflicted must also bring a form from the doctor who diagnosed their condition, stating the severity and necessity of immediate treatment.
  5. If the commissioner approves your case, you won’t have to pay for healthcare as the company will cover it. However, there are certain limitations. For instance, if you choose to get a second opinion, you must pay for that yourself.
  6. If your condition or injury takes longer to heal, the doctor must submit a progress report to the commissioner every other week. This keeps the patient, organizer, and commissioner all on one page.
  7. Copies of all these forms need to be maintained by your attorney for record purposes.

Takeaway:

Cancer isone of thedeadliest and most daunting diseases out there. It leavesemotionalandphysical scars that individuals must tend to for a lifetime. Some like mesothelioma are fatal in later stages. However, victims might get compensation for themselves or their families to minimize the financial burdens with the right guidance.

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