The number of work-related cancers continues to rise in France


During the period 2013-2017, these recognized occupational cancers account for an average of 1,840 cases per year. A number that more than tripled in 20 years: 540 cases in 1998, 1,940 cases recognized in 2017, according to the organization dedicated to occupational accidents and diseases.

Of these occupational cancers, 80% are related to exposure to asbestos (70% lung cancer, 30% mesothelioma, pleural cancer also called "asbestos cancer"). For others, it is mainly bladder cancer, naso-sinus and leukemias.

Excluding asbestos, banned since 1997 in France, exposure to wood dust, benzene and tars, bitumen and asphalt is responsible for half of the cases, health insurance highlights.

For all cancers combined, the mean age of those affected at the time of recognition as an occupational disease is 68 years (mean age 73 years for asbestos cancer, 56.5 years for benzene-related cancers) and men are very worried (96%). They are workers in 80% of cases.

A cost of 1.2 billion for companies

Another feature is that cases are concentrated in the northern half of France, where activities related to the use of asbestos in the past are located. By sector, metallurgy has the highest number of cases (39%). Then came the construction (24%) and, to a lesser extent, the chemical industry and the wood sector (9% each).

The management of occupational cancers by the Occupational Risks division represents an annual cost of € 1.2 billion for companies.

These are mainly life annuities, 80% of which are paid to beneficiaries (mainly surviving spouses), with an average amount of about 17,000 euros per year.

But many cancers of occupational origin are not stated, particularly because of a long latency between exposure and onset of illness (20-40 years) or the complexity of the steps to be taken, emphasizes health insurance.

For better access to the rights of policyholders, you will establish a reporting assistance system and experience targeted detection during tests conducted by your medical consultants.


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