Pinpointing the exact cause of cancer is extremely difficult
because firefighters are not exposed to just one agent. They are exposed to multiple cancer-causing agents. Because of the multiple exposures and the multiple routes of exposure—they inhale carcinogens, and carcinogens are absorbed through the skin—it is also highly unlikely for firefighters to get only one type of cancer.
—Dr. Grace LeMasters
Here you’ll find the latest information on the cancers impacting the lives of first responders. From articles and prevention tips to awareness training modules, PowerPoint presentations and screenings to workers’ compensation issues to national registries and organizations allied in support of firefighters with cancer, every resource you need is at your fingertips, in one place.
Large percentages of career (18.4%) and volunteer (16.8%) firefighters used smokeless tobacco. Conclusions Smoking among firefighters is associated with other significant health and safety risks. High rates of smokeless tobacco use suggest that the fire service is an important target for intervention.
We found an increased risk for incidence and mortality of certain cancers in firefighters. Especially worth mentioning are the newly identified thyroid cancers and mesothelioma. We suggest improving technologies and education of firefighters to decrease their carcinogenic exposure and recomment special attention towards early detection of the respective cancers in this population at risk.
When a person calls 911, and a firefighter responds to the call for help, they realize that person is having one of the worst days of their life. The call could be for a medical emergency, a car accident, or flames attacking the home. But, when firefighters respond, they’re putting themselves at risk of exposure to carcinogens that could cause cancer.
FIRE SERVICE OCCUPATIONAL CANCER ALLIANCE
After the Diagnosis
FCSN provides assistance to fire/EMS personnel and their family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. They provide rapid postdiagnosis resources followed by one-on-one support from fellow firefighters—and they will send you a FCSN signature toolbox free of charge. It contains critical resources to help you plan, communicate and take action with your doctors, your loved ones, and your brothers and sisters in the fire service. FCSN has more than 120 fire service mentors with personal experience facing many types of cancer. FCSN mentors can provide newly diagnosed fire/EMS members with valuable information about a particular type of cancer, share their own experiences with testing and treatments, and offer valuable insight into the recovery process.Visit the FCSN
Fighting fires is a dangerous profession, and the danger goes beyond the hazards of running into a burning building.
Numerous studies show that firefighters’ exposure on the fireground, where smoke and hazardous chemicals are released from burning materials, may increase their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. While the association between firefighting and disease seems clear, more information about these health risks is needed—especially with regard to the higher risk of cancer among firefighters.
To better understand the link between on-the-job exposure to toxicants and cancer, Congress directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create the National Firefighter Registry (NFR).
Visit the National Firefighter Registry