Increasing concern: Cancer risks in firefighting

KNWA

According to Dr. Jaggernauth, firefighters are at a higher risk of getting cancer while on the job.

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA) — Cancer continues to be an increasing concern for firefighters after a local fireman died from pancreatic cancer.

“Firefighters have to deal with a very toxic environment that they’re working in on a daily basis,” Dr. Simeon Jaggernauth with the Landmark Cancer Center in Rogers said. “As you know anything that’s burning produces an array of toxic compounds.”

According to Dr. Jaggernauth, firefighters are at a higher risk of getting cancer while on the job.

“What they have to deal with is far greater for a cancer risk because of these toxins in their environment,” he said.

Eric Morrison

Eric Morrison, with the Fort Smith Fire Department, died a couple of weeks ago after his two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Fort Smith Fire Chief Phil Christensen said doctors confirmed Morrison’s cancer was most likely caused by fighting fires over his 16-year career.

Dr. Jaggernauth said it’s important to raise awareness of the risk first responders have.

Support your local firefighter foundation and do everything you can to help them because they do have an increased risk for different types of cancers and the more awareness that you raise for your firefighters the better off their chances are to achieve that kind of help.

Dr. Simeon Jaggernauth, Landmark Cancer Center

According to Dr. Jaggernauth, Morrison already fell into one of the biggest pancreatic cancer risk factors, being a male.

He said the most common type of cancer firefighters can contract in the line of duty is lung cancer.

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