Firefighter Cancer: Is it Preventable?

Cancer continues to be the most important topic of conversation in the fire service, nationwide and abroad.  Departments and agencies are beginning to make operational and safety protocol changes to keep firefighters healthy.   With the spotlight on cancer, firefighters need to understand cancer CANNOT be prevented.  While fire service vendors, and those with good intentions, market “prevention” firefighters need to be aware that particular message is not an accurate statement.

Dr. James Brown, a notable physiologist who focused on his entire career on firefighter health and safety, shares that “… the cancer prevention message is misleading.  Cancer cannot be prevented.  Instead, what firefighters need to understand is there is no product or drug they can buy or take to counteract exposures.  What firefighters can do is minimize the risk of contracting cancer, and other life-altering diseases, by reducing their exposure to the toxic gases and substances on the fire ground, and in the firehouse.  In an effort to help firefighters understand cancer as a disease and how it manifests in the body, Dr. Brown created a narrated Powerpoint which includes an in-depth understanding of the disease, routes of exposure and tactical measures to “reduce the exposure.”  “Cancer in the Fire Service” is now available to all members.

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