Cancer Fire/emergency medical services Worker health and wellness

NIOSH: Firefighters at higher risk for several types of cancer

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Cincinnati – Firefighters have an elevated risk for several major cancers, and black and Hispanic firefighters are at risk for even more types of the disease, according to research from NIOSH.

Using data from the California Cancer Registry from 1988 to 2007, researchers studied nearly 4,000 male firefighters with cancer. They examined the relationship between 32 cancers and firefighters of different races and ethnicities.

Results show that, overall, firefighters had a higher risk for cancers such as melanoma; acute myeloid leukemia; multiple myeloma; and cancers of the esophagus, prostate, brain and kidney. Additionally, black and Hispanic firefighters had a higher risk than white firefighters for non-Hodgkin lymphoma; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; chronic myeloid leukemia; and cancers of the tongue, bladder and testis.

Firefighters are regularly exposed to carcinogens on the job, according to NIOSH.

The study was published online May 6 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.