IAFF Local 925
Firefighter Cancer - What we should know
Updated On: Dec 05, 2018

FAQs

Are firefighters’ risks for certain types of cancer significantly higher?

Firefighters’ risks are significantly higher for some specific types of cancer than the general population.

In 2013, NIOSH researchers reported a two-fold excess of malignant mesothelioma, a very rare cancer. Put another way, firefighters have a 100 percent increased risk (100 percent = double = 2 times) of getting mesothelioma. Firefighters have a 129 percent increased risk of dying from mesothelioma. A 2006 meta-analysis by Grace LeMasters of 32 firefighter cancer studies noted a two-fold excess for testicular cancer. Firefighters have a 62 percent higher risk of getting esophageal cancer, and they have a 39 percent increased risk of dying from esophageal cancer, according to the NIOSH research.

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

  • testicular cancer - 2.02 times the risk (again: 100% = double = 2 times);
  • 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.

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