Firefighters Twice As Likely as Rest of Population to Develop Cancer

Indiana Legislator Supports Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017

Firefighters are at a significantly increased risk for developing cancer,
especially testicular cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma. U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, Indiana’s 9th Congressional
District representative, has co-sponsored legislation aimed at tackling
increased cancer rates among firefighters. The
Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, would provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the
funding and capability to collect and analyze data related to cancer incidents
within the profession.

According to the bill summary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) would need to develop and maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters
to collect history and occupational information that can be linked to
existing data in state cancer registries. The registry must be used to
improve monitoring of cancer among firefighters and to collect and publish
epidemiological information regarding cancer among firefighters. The CDC
should seek to include specified information in the registry, including
the number and type of fire incidents attended by an individual.

Firefighters Have Twice As Many Cancer-Related Deaths

Firefighters are continually exposed to carcinogenic toxic chemicals likes
diesel engine exhaust, formaldehyde, soot, chloroform, benzene, and asbestos.
In 2010, the largest ever
study of U.S. firefighters by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that
firefighters had a nine percent higher rate of cancer diagnoses and 14
percent more cancer-related deaths than the average American. The
study also found mortality patterns and cancer incidence among a group of U.S.
career firefighters:

  • Cancers of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems accounted mostly
    for the higher rates of cancer seen in the study population.
  • The population of firefighters in the study had a rate of mesothelioma
    two times greater than the rate in the U.S. population as a whole.
  • Firefighters can be exposed to contaminants from fires that are known or
    suspected to cause cancer. These contaminants include combustion by-products
    such as benzene and formaldehyde, and materials in debris such as asbestos
    from older structures.

Presumptive Disability Law

Indiana’s
presumptive disability law recognizes that firefighters are at increased risk for certain illnesses,
including cancer. The law makes a “presumption” of certain
types of cancer, heart and lung disease and neurological disorders. This
means that the law presumes these medical issues are due to a worker’s
service as a firefighter. This requires the city to take care of medical
expenses for these diseases and, if properly documented, could give the
firefighter the Line of Duty Disability benefit (tax free pension) or
their family the Line-of-Duty Death Benefit.

Injured workers and families who were not given the full
work comp benefits they deserved may be eligible for compensation to cover the damages they
have suffered and assist with medical payments and living expenses, whether
the injury is temporary or permanent.

Contact Wagner Reese

When workers who risk their lives are denied the money they deserve, the
Indianapolis work comp lawyers at Wagner Reese can help, and will work
hard to get what is owed. Give Wagner Reese a call today at (888) 204-8440
to schedule a free consultation.