Thousands at higher risk of killer cancers – and it's 'because of their job', study finds | The Sun

EVERYONE has bad days at work, but not everyone's job significantly increases their chance of death.

One profession in particular puts people at high risk of several killer cancers, a new study has revealed.

Firefighters are more likely to die from prostate cancer, oesophageal cancer and leukaemia than the general population, research has found.

Firefighters are also five times more likely to die from heart attacks and nearly three times more likely to die from strokes, the report said.

A study of the emergency service staff in Scotland found their cancer mortality rate was 1.6 times higher than others.

The researchers said exposure to toxic substances was a likely cause.

Read more on cancer

My son-in-law began losing weight – docs thought it was cancer but it was worse

As Gianluca Vialli dies of pancreatic cancer – 14 surprising signs to know

The study, by the University of Central Lancashire, looked at mortality data from the National Records of Scotland.

It found the number of firefighters who have died from prostate cancer was 3.8 times higher than the general population, 3.2 times higher for leukaemia, and 2.4 times higher for oesophageal cancer.

And in instances where cancer with an unknown origin has spread, the rate was 6.4 times higher than the general population.

Riccardo la Torre, Fire Brigades Union national officer, said the findings "should horrify the fire services and the government".

Most read in Health


1000s with life-threatening condition could be spared injections thanks to new tech


Better-off patients 'may have to pay to see a GP to help save ailing NHS'


Ambulance staff to strike for second time in a month TOMORROW after talks fail


I'm a mental health guru – here's 4 simple steps to banish stress now

"This is about firefighters dying who did not need to," he said. "We cannot lose any more firefighters unnecessarily.

"Lives are being lost amongst our friends and colleagues and it must stop.

"We need to catch problems early and mitigate problems early."

The records the research team, led by Professor Anna Stec, looked at were for firefighters between 30 and 74 years of age, of which there were 672.

Their findings have now been published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine, and looked at mortality figures between 2000 and 2020.

Ms Stec, professor in fire chemistry and toxicity at the university, said: "It's important that firefighters can continue to do their jobs as safely as possible, and the research shows that measures such as health monitoring and reducing exposure from contaminants at the workplace will play an important part in protecting firefighters."

The report said excess cancer mortality was likely linked to different kinds of exposures and fire toxins.

Cancers of the oesophagus and digestive organs point, for example, to a potentially significant contribution from ingestion, which may occur when firefighters swallow mucus in which fire effluent has become trapped, or if they have eaten food with contaminated hands.

And mortality rates from leukaemia are linked to exposure to other chemicals such as benzene from contact with skin or inhalation.

Across the population there has been a downtrend in the number of cancer deaths, and report authors pointed to an increasing availability of lifesaving measures like early diagnosis and effective treatment.

But, they found, there was the opposite trend among firefighters.

They said firefighters appeared to have higher cancer rates at younger ages, with these being too young to be offered cancer screening on the NHS which were often targeted at older ages.

Mr la Torre said: "We know that there are clear ways we can make things better for firefighters. We need health surveillance. We need monitoring of exposures.

"We need legislation that will ensure that affected firefighters are given the compensation they deserve.

"At the moment we are sorely lacking in all of these areas. It is high time that ends."

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Officer Andy Watt said: "The safety of our staff is paramount. We are aware of this important piece of research and will now review the findings.

Read More on The Sun

Mrs Hinch reveals her five top home hacks which will save time & money

Inside the biggest Wetherspoons in the world – and it’s right on the beach

"The service has already undertaken work to minimise the risk of contaminants for our staff. This includes a substantial review of how fire appliances, personnel and PPE are decontaminated during and following an incident.

"All fire appliances and training centres have been provided with specialist decontamination wipes, we have trialled station zoning systems to limit potential spread and our standard medical tests involve enhanced cancer screening questions."

It’s important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms. And although it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate.

  • Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness. Speak to a GP if you've had a cough for 3 weeks or more
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Bloating
  • Bleeding
  • Lumps
  • Moles
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tummy or back pain
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Itchy or yellow skin
  • Feeling tired and unwell

Source: NHS

Source: Read Full Article