Reconnaissance et occultation des cancers professionnels : le droit à réparation à l'épreuve de la pratique (Seine-Saint-Denis)

Abstract : Cancerous pathologies, currently the leading cause of death in France, are also one of the main causes of social inequalities before death. The importance of occupational factors in the onset of the disease remains largely under-estimated, particularly because very few cancer patients exercise their right to compensation for occupational diseases, a phenomenon officially described as “under- reporting” and “under-recognition”. This research, which has benefited from data collected by a program designed to identify and support occupational-cancer patients implemented since 2002 in the French département of Seine-Saint-Denis by the French “Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique sur les Cancers d’Origine Professionnelle” (ie GISCOP93, a scientific association for occupational cancers), set out to monitor current and former workers and employees who have been diagnosed with broncho- pulmonary cancer as well as their families, as they go through the process of seeking and obtaining compensation, in order to identify the factors that determine whether they do or do not exercise their rights. This research, based on the data gathered during this phase of ethnographical research, on archival holdings and on observations in a French “Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie” (CPAM, ie local healthcare insurance office), comprises three parts. After describing the research protocol that was implemented, the first part focuses on identifying the conditions required for occupational-cancer patients, both in and out of employment, to exercise their rights: they need to learn to perceive themselves as “victims” of their occupational history and to find the resources necessary to start the compensation- seeking process. The second part focuses on retracing the history of the medical and legal category of occupational cancer, which was first defined in the early 20th century, and more specifically, on the history of broncho- pulmonary cancers. This part describes the conditions which led to creating the notion of “presumed origin” – a cornerstone of the occupational-harm reparation system – in the case of this specific type of cancer. By retracing the stages of evolution of a table of occupational diseases from the early 1920s to the early 1990s, it illustrates how fragile this last category can be. The third section records what happens when the right to compensation is enforced by the institution in charge of investigating claims, revealing what takes place behind the scènes during the investigation of a claim and the conditions that define whether and when a case of cancer is recognized as an occupational disease.
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Anne Marchand. Reconnaissance et occultation des cancers professionnels : le droit à réparation à l'épreuve de la pratique (Seine-Saint-Denis). Sociologie. Université Evry-Val d'Essonne/Université Paris Saclay, 2018. Français. ⟨tel-02105285⟩

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