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Lung cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells develop and grow in the lungs. Left unchecked it will interfere with the proper functioning of the lung and spread to other organs in the body. Sadly, it is often fatal.

Lung cancer is caused by a mutation in the cells and this, in turn, can be caused by genetics, aging or outside factors such as smoking.

Sometimes the outside factor that causes the cancer is work-related. In fact, according to the Health & Safety Executive, exposure at work to a known cancer-causing substance accounts for one in twenty cancer deaths in Great Britain. Most of these deaths are caused by exposure to asbestos.

There are many rules in place to protect workers from exposure to carcinogens. Some are covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), which deals with hazardous substances in general (see our work accident pages for more details).

Other rules deal with particular substances. For example, there are a number of rules requiring employers to protect their employees against exposure to asbestos.

Sadly, sometimes employers do not comply with these rules and workers are negligently exposed to carcinogens. If this happens to you, and you develop lung cancer as a result, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

What Causes Lung Cancer?

Understanding Symptoms

Many symptoms of lung cancer resemble those of less severe illnesses. If you suspect you have lung cancer or any respiratory disease, prompt medical consultation is crucial. Early detection enables timely treatment or alleviates concerns.

Types of Lung Cancer

There are two primary types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer: The most prevalent form, comprising squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Treatment approaches for these types are generally similar.
  • Small cell lung cancer: Less common but typically aggressive, especially associated with smoking.

Common Symptoms

General symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest or cough-related pain
  • Blood in phlegm
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clubbed fingers

Advanced Symptoms

As the disease progresses, additional symptoms may manifest, such as:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling in the face or neck
  • Pain or ache under the ribs, in the chest, or shoulder region

Seek Medical Assistance

If you suspect lung cancer or experience related symptoms, consult a medical professional promptly. Early intervention is vital for effective management and treatment.

Explore Compensation Options

If you've suffered due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us to evaluate your claim and pursue rightful compensation.


There are a number of different treatment options for lung cancer. Deciding which one is right for you will depend on:

  • The type of lung cancer you have (small cell lung cancer or non small cell lung cancer)
  • Whether it has spread
  • How big it is
  • Where it is positioned
  • Your general health

The main treatment options are:

  • Surgery – this is usually offered if the cancer is a non small cell type, and has not spread beyond one lung. It is sometimes followed up with a course of chemotherapy. There are three main types of surgery:
    1. Segmentectomy – where only a small segment of the affected lobe is removed. 
    2. Lobectomy – where one lobe of the lung is removed
    3. Pneumonectomy – where a whole lung is removed 
  • Radiotherapy – this involves targeting pulses of radiation at the affected area. It is more likely to be offered if the cancer is still limited in spread and there are reasons not to offer surgery (for example, problems with your general health). Again, it may be combined with chemotherapy, to kill off any remaining abnormal cells.
  • Chemotherapy – this is generally offered as a treatment for small-cell lung cancer, or for cancers that have spread too far for radiotherapy or surgery.

Lung Cancer Compensation: Understanding Occupational Risks

There exists a multitude of hazardous substances capable of causing lung cancer, prevalent across various industries. The diverse array of these substances, present in numerous materials, poses significant risks to workers in specific sectors.

Assessing Workplace Risks

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an extensive research project focused on occupational lung cancer, pinpointing known risk factors and occupations at the highest risk of the disease.

Notable occupations identified in the study include:

  • Working with asbestos
  • Tin mining
  • Iron and steel founding
  • Painting and decorating
  • Chemists
  • Welding
  • Construction
  • Aerospace industry
  • Chimney sweeps
  • Masonry
  • Petrochemical industry
  • Professional drivers
  • Railroad workers and railway carriage construction workers

Lung cancer often manifests after a prolonged latency period, signifying the time between initial exposure and symptom presentation. Cases surfacing today often trace back to workplace exposures occurring two to three decades ago.

Of emerging concern are cancers linked to asbestos exposure, a substance now banned in the UK. While asbestos-related cases are expected to decline in the coming years, projections indicate future risks from silica, diesel fumes, solar radiation, shift work, and paint and welding fumes.

A lung cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly distressing for you and your loved ones, especially if it stems from unsafe working conditions of the past. The profound impact of lung cancer symptoms can be overwhelming, particularly if your suffering results, in part, from another's negligence.

Lung Cancer Compensation Claims

Thompsons' compensation solicitors have a dedicated Lung Disease team with the experience and skill to tackle even the most complicated of cases. We also have a team of medical specialists, including consultant physicians, pathologists and radiologists, who will be involved in your case.

We are known as the leading personal injury firm in the country and our compassionate and approachable solicitors give our clients more than just a No Win No Fee legal service.

To talk to an expert about making a claim, click here


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