They do not have cancer yet, and they may never get it. But a divided Supreme Court says that should not keep some workers who were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos from winning money damages in court, as long as they already have a separate asbestos-related illness and can document their health fears.

The five-to-four ruling says the very fear of getting cancer is grounds enough to collect for those particular workers.

The four dissenting justices say previous court rulings do not support the finding that workers can collect money when they suffer from another disease that doesn't necessarily lead to cancer.

The court is siding with some retired railroad workers who won nearly $6 million from Norfolk and Western Railway. The railroad had hoped the Supreme Court would use the case to curb the growing number of asbestos-related lawsuits.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)