FIREFIGHTER CANCER SCREENING
For over three centuries, The Boston Fire Department has led the way, creating the original model that the rest of our country would then follow. With exceptional bravery and the safety of fellow citizens in their hands, Boston firefighter’s run towards danger. They put their lives on the line while those at risk seek safety. The public has been exposed to the visual dangers of the job, but now more than ever, the health and wellness risks that are not publicized are spreading across the Department.
Over the past decade, heart disease and cancer have accounted for the majority of on-duty firefighter deaths. In Boston specifically, between 2012 and 2017, 27 Boston Firefighters under the age of 70 died from cancer. During that same time, 12 firefighters died of cancer within 5 years of retirement and 6 active firefighters died from cancer. These statistics are alarming, and require action.
Cancer awareness and prevention has become a major focus for fire departments nationwide. Statistics show that firefighters are more than twice as likely to develop cancer during their lifetime compared to civilians. In Boston specifically, 67% of firefighters will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Even after additional precautionary measures have been implemented across the Department, the number of cancer diagnosis and death continue to rise at an alarming rate.
There is hope however. Recent advances in medal research have provided doctors new ways to test and screen for cancer and cardiovascular issues. The goal of the Boston Fire Department Relief Fund is to subsidize 50% of the costs for important cancer screening and cardiovascular tests are not covered insurance. Although the dangers of the job will never change, the Relief Fund can help improve firefighter health and wellness by detecting potential problems before they become too big to solve.
At this time, in order to be eligible for subsidized body scans, you must be over 50 years old and have 20 or more years of service in the Boston Fire Department.