FireRescue Magazine: The High Cost of Treating Cancer

Leveraging life insurance to combat the Financial Toxicity Crisis

By Adam Balinsky

Firefighters work in one of the most dangerous professions that exist, and the perils don’t end when they’re off duty or retired. Many of the toxins that firefighters regularly encounter—heavy smoke, asbestos, and burning chemicals, to name a few—can lead to serious health problems down the road like cancer.

A recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revealed that cancer is currently the leading cause of death in firefighters. Further, higher rates of certain types of cancer were found among the firefighters studied vs. the general U.S. population—most commonly digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers.

These aforementioned findings are not based on anecdotal evidence. In fact, the NIOSH study was conducted over the course of several years and included almost 30,000 firefighters from Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

The NIOSH study is not the only body of research on the topic either. “Firefighters are at an increased risk of developing cancer,” reports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In a recent interview with NBC News, a Boston fire chief told reporters: “We’re seeing a lot of younger members in their early 40s, who’ve got 20 years on the job, who are developing these cancers at a very young age.”

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