Firefighters & Cancer: Could Formalized Cancer Screenings Help First Responders?

Local News

In Continuing Coverage: The unfortunate lack of medical screenings for firefighters.

Thursday, we brought you the story of Captain Hilary Hartman, who the Dickinson Fire Department recently lost to cancer.

Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak is certain his job choice was the cause.

Sanford Oncologist Dr. Edward Wos said the connection between cancer and firefighting has been studied for about 20 years now.

He said it’s all about long-term exposure to the job, and to the toxins from smoking buildings. Dr. Wos said it’s those with a long career, getting ready to retire, that are at the biggest risk.

And it’s not just inhaled smoke, it can get onto your skin too.

Dr. Wos said, right now, there are no formalized tests doctors conduct for firefighters unless they have a family history.

Chief Sivak said testing for all firefighters is something their department is working toward.

“Certainly having a history of being a firefighter, even if you don’t have a family history, would prompt screening those particular individuals,” Dr. Wos added.

Click here for more information about how our fire departments are working to decrease the overall risk.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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