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Railroad Throat Cancer

Railroad workers diagnosed with throat cancers, including laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer, may be entitled to compensation under the FELA. Call 312-877-5588 to speak with a railroad cancer attorney.

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    Railroad Throat Cancer

    Railroad workers are at an elevated risk of throat cancer. Why is that? Because, historically, railroad workers have been exposed to asbestos, secondhand tobacco smoke, and other carcinogens. 

    What is Throat Cancer? 

    Throat cancer is a broad term that may refer to several different types of cancer. There are two main types of throat cancer: pharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer.

    Pharyngeal cancers are cancers which originate in the pharynx. The pharynx is the part of your throat that goes from your nose to the top of your esophagus. Subtypes of pharyngeal cancer include: 

    • oropharyngeal cancer, 
    • nasopharyngeal cancer, and 
    • hypopharyngeal cancer. 

    Laryngeal cancers are cancers which originate in your larynx (AKA your voice box). Subtypes of laryngeal cancer include: 

    • supraglottic cancer, 
    • glottic cancer, and
    • subglottic cancer.1

    Why Are Railroad Workers at Elevated Risk of Throat Cancer?

    Ultimately, many railroad workers are at an elevated risk of throat cancer because the railroad companies did not take adequate precautions to protect the health and safety of their employees. As a result of the railroad companies’ indifference and inaction, railroad workers were needlessly exposed to a variety of carcinogens that are associated with throat cancer including: 

    Which Railroad Workers Are at Risk of Throat Cancer? 

    Many of the toxins which have been linked to throat cancer, such as asbestos and secondhand tobacco smoke, were pervasive throughout the railroad industry. Consequently, in years past, almost all railroad workers were exposed to carcinogens which could increase their odds of developing throat cancer. The trades which generally suffered some of the worst exposures include: 

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    What Can I Do If I Was Exposed?

    If you worked for the railroad, tell your doctor. Throat cancer can be treated. However, receiving a diagnosis in the early stages of the disease can greatly increase the odds of recovery. Making your healthcare provider aware of your workplace exposures can make the difference between being diagnosed with a nasty cough and being diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s also important that you closely monitor your health for any early warning signs of an illness.

    What are the Warning Signs of Throat Cancer? 

    Early warning signs of throat cancer include symptoms such as: 

    • a cough
    • a consistent sore throat, 
    • trouble or pain when swallowing, 
    • ear pain, 
    • lumps in the neck or throat, and 
    • changes in the hoarseness of one’s voice.2

    Am I Entitled to Compensation? 

    If you or a loved one worked for the railroad and received a diagnosis of throat cancer or another related illness, the attorneys at Hughes Law Offices may be able to help. These are complicated cases that require experienced attorneys who know how to link your exposures with your diagnosis. While you and your loved ones focus on recovery, let us do the work needed to prove your case. Contact Hughes Law Offices today at 312-877-5588 to speak directly with an attorney. All consultations are 100% free of charge. Your time to file a lawsuit is limited.

    Railroad Throat Cancer Verdicts & Settlements 

    $4,255,000 Verdict (Tennessee, 2013)

    The plaintiff, a railroad mechanic, worked in Illinois Central RR’s Trigg Avenue and Johnson yard maintenance shops in Memphis Tennessee from 1974 to 2007. During his career, he was exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust, and secondhand cigarette smoke. As a result of his exposures, he developed throat cancer leading to his death in 2008. The judgment was reduced to $3,335,685 to offset the medical expenses paid on behalf of Mr. Russell. (Russell v. Illinois Central Railroad Company)

    $837,000 Verdict (Ohio, 2008)

    The plaintiff, a former locomotive fireman and engineer, was exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust, and other toxins throughout his decades-long career for Grand Trunk Western R.R. After his retirement, at the age of 70, the plaintiff was diagnosed with throat cancer and chronic lung disease. He beat cancer; however, his lung disease was permanent and progressive. The defense argued that his health issues were the result of his lengthy smoking history.  (Shepard v. Grand Trunk Wester R.R.).


    Hughes Law Offices is providing railroad asbestos case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns and rulings. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices. To learn more about these types of cases visit our Verdicts & Settlements page.


    [1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23136-throat-cancer

    [2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/throat-cancer/symptoms-causes/

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