Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Did you know firefighters are more prone to cancer? Here’s why

Cancer can happen to anyone but did you know firefighters are more prone to suffering from cancer? The nature of their work makes them more prone to cancer and other health issues too. According to a detailed meta-analysis of 32 studies, firefighters are more prone to cancer than people with a lesser harmful career. The study says, ‘During the course of their work, firefighters are exposed to harmful substances at the fire scene as well as at the firehouse. At the fire scene, firefighters are potentially exposed to various mixtures of particulates, gases, mists, fumes of an organic and/or inorganic nature, and the resultant pyrolysis products.’ These different types and mixtures of elements that the firefighters are exposed to can potentially cause various types of cancers. Do you know what are the most common types of cancer in India?

The nature of their job demands them to be around specific potential exposures that include harmful metals. According to the study these metals could include, ‘lead, antimony, cadmium, uranium, chemical substances, including acrolein, benzene, methylene chloride, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, perchloroethylene, toluene, trichloroethylene, trichlorophenol, xylene, formaldehyde, minerals such as asbestos, crystalline, and noncrystalline silica, silicates, and various gases’ They may have acute, toxic effects that may eventually cause cancer.

The situation may worsen if the firefighters don’t receive proper respiratory protection equipment which is mostly the case in India and other developing nations. Inadequate protection equipment, especially for the respiratory passage, paves the way for unrecognized exposure to the toxic materials mentioned above.

The study also concluded that what are the cancers that the firefighters are more prone to get. Multiple myelomas, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and prostate cancer were the cancers that researches found more common among the firefighters. Firefighters also have their skin, including the groin area, frequently covered with ‘black soot’ which could also make them more prone to skin cancer too.


LeMasters, G. K., Genaidy, A. M., Succop, P., Deddens, J., Sobeih, T., Barriera-Viruet, H., … & Lockey, J. (2006). Cancer risk among firefighters: a review and meta-analysis of 32 studies. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 48(11), 1189-1202.

Golden, A. L., Markowitz, S. B., & Landrigan, P. J. (1995). The risk of cancer in firefighters. Occupational medicine (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10(4), 803-820.

Sigurdardottir, L. G., Valdimarsdottir, U. A., Fall, K., Rider, J. R., Lockley, S. W., Schernhammer, E., & Mucci, L. A. (2012). Circadian disruption, sleep loss, and prostate cancer risk: a systematic review of epidemiologic studies. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers.

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