NewsIn Focus


Firefighters at higher risk for many cancers

An In Focus look at what advocates are pushing for
Wharf Fire New Orleans
Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 16:10:43-04
"We've known that firefighting and cancer has been a problem for a very long time."
Bryan Frieders, President & CEO of the Firefighters Cancer Support Network

The fact that firefighters have an increased risk of several types of cancer over the general public, isn't all that surprising.

Bryan Frieders, the President and CEO of the Firefighters Cancer Support Network says the organization's been on an educational campaign since they released a 'white paper' in 2013, detailing some of the research into firefighters and cancer rates.

"That [white paper] sort of made us understand a little bit more of what the issue was so that we can make some changes in the fire service globally to try to minimize the risk of cancer amongst firefighters," he says.

Recommended changes included addressing equipment issues, safety practices during and after fire calls, and changing how often equipment is cleaned and replaced.

"We're exposed to more than 265 known carcinogens, just in an ordinary house fire."
Bryan Frieders

"In addition to that," Frieders tells WMAR-2 News, "firefighter health and safety and health and wellness has been at the forefront of most Career and volunteer fire departments minds."

What the FCSN wants to see happen - is more regular screening for cancer in firefighters - and earlier.

He gave us an example of the differences recommended for colon cancer.

Bryan Frieders on Colon Cancer Screening

For more resources, you can visit The Firefighter Cancer Support Network here.