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The link between firefighting and cancer

When you think about the dangers associated with your Florida firefighting career, you may concern yourself primarily with the immediate risks that come with making your way into burning buildings to help the people inside. Unfortunately, though, many of the health risks you face as a firefighter can affect you slowly, over time, and cancer, in particular, is one such concern. At Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A, we understand that firefighters face heightened risks of developing many forms of cancer, and we have helped many people who suffered work-related injuries or illnesses seek recourse in the aftermath.

Per the National Fire Protection Association, you are 14% more likely to suffer a cancer-related death when you work as a firefighter then you would be as a member of the general population who does not fight fires. As a firefighter, you are also 9% more likely than the general population to have a doctor diagnose you with cancer, but there are several protective and preventative measures you can take to help decrease your cancer risk.

For starters, recognize that many firefighter cancer cases develop because of contaminated personal protective equipment. Once contaminated, this equipment can cross-contaminate just about anything else it touches, so it is essential that you not only remove your equipment from your body as soon as possible, but that you immediately wash it all, too.

Washing your gear promptly is not enough, though. You should also shower as soon as possible after wearing personal protective equipment or engaging in firefighting operations to remove any possible traces of contaminants from your body. Thoroughly and promptly washing yourself and your firefighting gear may be able to help reduce your risk of developing lung cancer, myeloma, lymphoma or asbestos-related cancers, among others, but it will not completely mitigate it. You can learn more about work-related injuries and illnesses on our webpage.

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