The incidences, causes and characteristics of occupational cancer were reviewed. A discussion of the magnitude of cancers attributable to occupation was provided. Characteristics of occupational cancers included varying latency periods, histological types, and demographic variables, as well as definite dose response relationships. The existence of threshold values for safe levels of carcinogen exposure was considered controversial. Carcinogens were classified according to the degree of evidence indicating carcinogenicity: sufficient, limited, insufficient, and lack of evidence. The known lung, skin, and liver carcinogens were listed. The main goal in epidemiological studies of occupational cancer was regarded as the study of cancer morbidity and mortality in working groups. Epidemiological evidence was reviewed which related various carcinogens to the diseases they cause, including asbestos (1332214) to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis; aromatic amines to bladder cancer; alkylating agents to lung cancer and leukemia; benzene (71432) to myelogenous leukemia; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to scrotal and lung cancer; vinyl-chloride (75014) to angiosarcoma; metals to lung and skin cancer; and metalworking fluids to stomach, bladder, pancreas, larynx, and skin cancers. Mortality data, cancer survey data, and cancer registries were considered useful approaches to surveillance. Types of occupational cancer surveillance included disease based surveillance, exposure based surveillance, and medical screening. The five working populations recommended for further occupational cancer research were listed as asbestos workers, motor vehicle operators, machinists and related workers, electric workers, and metal workers. The author concludes that cancer prevention and control should incorporate primary prevention strategies that focus on exposure avoidance, secondary prevention strategies that focus on medical screening, and suitable surveillance programs.