What’s Killing America’s Bravest?

It’s not the flames or even the smoke that’s taking our firefighters in historically large numbers

| Studies Reveal Number One Killer of Firefighters

(HealthLine) A surplus of new evidence shows that it’s not just the flames themselves or the inhalation of smoke that’s taking our firefighters in historically large numbers.

The list of cancers that are have been linked to firefighting include testicular, lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, lung, brain, breast, and colorectal.

It’s the toxic and often carcinogenic soot that’s left behind on the fire gear and the firefighters themselves.

Beat cancer, giving back

Fires have gotten far more toxic in the past 25 years.

Just ask Steve Fisher.

A firefighter and family man from Portland, Oregon, Fisher didn’t know too much about the link between firefighting and cancer when he started his career.

‘Hit the shower and wash that cancer off your body.’

That all changed in 1998, when a captain with the Eugene Fire Department sent Fisher and his fellow firefighters a clear message.

“When we got back to the firehouse, my captain would always say to everyone, ‘Hit the shower and wash that cancer off your body.’

“He was the first one in my career that I ever heard talk about that in the fire service,” Fisher told Healthline.

It still wasn’t enough — 11 years later, Fisher was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

An Oregon law that recognizes the growing body of evidence linking firefighting and cancer was approved by the state Legislature just in time to help Fisher.

He had surgery and underwent chemotherapy. He’s now in remission.

The list of cancers in Oregon that are presumed to be connected to firefighting include testicular, lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, lung, brain, breast, and colorectal.

“I was the first claim under the new presumptive law, which says that an insurance company has to prove that my cancer came from somewhere other than firefighting,” said Fisher, who’s now an active member of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), a national nonprofit leader in the battle against occupational cancer for more than a decade.

Read the full story at HealthLine.

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