Purpose: The proportion of lung cancers with an occupational origin has been estimated to be between 10 and 20%. They are largely under-reported, as 60% are not compensated as occupational disease. Although most patients are not familiar with the process of compensation, other factors could explain this under-reporting. The aim of this study was to identify psychosocial factors that could impact patients with occupational lung cancer to claim for compensation.
Methods: We conducted a case study involving semi-structured interviews with eight lung cancer patients enrolled in a cohort designed to systematically screen occupational exposures and propose claims for compensation to work-related cancer patients.
Results: Seven interviewed patients were familiar with occupational cancers, but most of them did not believe that past exposure could be related to their current disease. Patients associated compensation claims with a long and complex procedure for an abstract purpose. Several patients expressed a certain attachment to their employers.
Conclusion: Interviewed patients often considered compensation claims to be a grievance procedure against the employers whom they did not consider to be responsible for their disease. Lung cancer is itself an obstacle to compensation considering the aggressive treatments and related adverse events, the poor medium-term prognosis and the predominant role of smoking in the etiology of the disease. Patients mentioned the financial compensation and the role of healthcare professionals as key elements to motivate them to claim for compensation.