Historic collaboration provides cancer support to firefighters and EMS personnel

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) today launched a historic, long-term collaboration to help firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel detect, treat and prevent cancer.

Occupational cancer has overtaken cardiac events to become the leading cause of death among firefighters and EMS personnel. Numerous studies have shown that cancer rates are significantly higher in firefighters than in the general population and that firefighters in United States and Canada are developing work-related cancers at a higher rate than ever.

For firefighters fighting fires, it is becoming increasingly likely that they will one day fight cancer as well. The main cause of cancer in firefighters is not the fire itself, but the toxic chemicals released by a fire. Exposures to these toxins and carcinogens occur at the fire scene and behind the station both from contaminated equipment and equipment and from diesel exhaust.

More than 60 cancers have been linked to 9/11 toxins; 200 FDNY members died of 9/11-related illnesses, while more than 3,000 were diagnosed with at least one type of cancer. A meta-analysis by Jalilian et al from 2019 showed that firefighters have an increased risk of eight cancers and an increased risk of mortality for two cancers.

“Cancer is now one of the biggest battles we face in the fire service, but we are determined to do all we can to end this deadly scourge,” said IAFF General Chairman . Edward Kelly. “We are so proud of this new collaboration with the American Cancer Society because we know that by working together with our combined resources and commitment, we can save the lives of more firefighters. “

The alliance between ACS and IAFF will make cancer resources more easily accessible through occupational cancer prevention and patient support programs and provide information and resources to help prevent and treat cancer. occupational cancer.

“The American Cancer Society is proud to partner with the International Association of Fire Fighters to provide firefighters and their families with the essential support and programs they need to cope with cancer and prevent cancer at the future, ”said Dr. Karen knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society.

“We know from numerous studies that cancer rates are significantly higher in firefighters than in the general population. Through this important collaboration, we can help save the lives of firefighters and EMS workers by making cancer resources more easily accessible through access to cancer prevention and patient support programs.

The collaboration will allow IAFF and ACS to fight occupational cancer and share research to ensure the most recent information reaches firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The IAFF and ACS will collaborate on a variety of projects and research that advance the two organizations’ missions in occupational cancer.

The two organizations have developed a comprehensive online resource, iaff.org/fightcancer, which includes the latest information on cancer in fire departments, patient support services, prevention programs, and other important information for IAFF members faced with a cancer diagnosis. A dedicated telephone line has also been set up.

More information is available at iaff.org/fightcancer.

This article was originally published by the American Cancer Society on December 2, 2021. It is republished with permission.

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