The relationship between lung cancer and anthracosilicosis is controversial. The aim of this study was to determine if lung cancer occurs more frequently than expected among the Belgian coalminers than in the overall population.
We reviewed all the 16,285 records of coalminers compensated by the Belgian Occupational Diseases Fund, who died between 1992 and 2002. 1739 of them had developed a lung cancer (mean age 71.5 years). In Belgium, the compensated coalminers are rather old because exposure has stopped for about 30 years. We compared with the rate of lung cancer in the overall Belgian male population aged 60 years or more (official data from Scientific Institute of Public Health), died between 1987 and 1997 (last year with available statistics). During these ten years, 479,274 men over 60 died, and lung cancer was diagnosed in 52,334 of them.
In the studied population of coalminers, lung cancers were reported in 10.67%. In the overall Belgian men over 60, 10.91% died from lung carcinoma.
No significant difference was observed between overall population and coalminers, far from the end of exposure.
These results do not support any association between the occurrence of a lung cancer and professional exposure as coalminer.
D. Lauwers, None.