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Firefighter Cancer is Real. I promise.  It is real, not just because I sit here as the widow of a firefighter who died of Malignant Melanoma at the age of 41. Take a look for yourself. Study after study can be found with a quick search on the internet of cancer in the fire service.  According to research by the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general population.

Here’s an overview with some specific additional risks for firefighters noted:

  • testicular cancer - 2.02 times the risk;

  • mesothelioma - 2.0 times greater risk;

  • multiple myeloma -1.53 times greater risk;

  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma - 1.51 times greater risk;

  • skin cancer - 1.39 times greater risk;

  • malignant melanoma - 1.31 times 
greater risk;

  • brain cancer -1.31 times greater risk;

  • prostate cancer - 1.28 times greater risk;

  • colon cancer -1.21 times great risk; and

  • leukemia - 1.14 times greater risk.

Paul Combs Firefighter

​As of now there is little data among volunteer firefighters, however the Fireman's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) and Northwell Health have come together for a research project.  In 2017 they began gathering cancer incidence and mortality rates among the volunteers who reside in New York.

Here at the Carney Strong Initiative, we do not claim to be subject matter experts of the epidemic. We rely on those who have dedicated their lives to the research, those with the knowledge and understanding of all facets of the industry and service as a whole, and we share their findings. Take a look at our Resources Page for more information. Of course you can also follow us on Facebook where we often share news pertaining to cancer in the fire service.

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