TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – Studies conducted by Arizona University of Health Sciences, in conjunction with the Tucson Fire Department, have helped provide evidence that occupational exposure poses a risk of cancer for firefighters.
The results of these studies contributed to a greater body of evidence that led the International Agency for Research on Cancer to reclassify occupational exposure of firefighters from “possibly carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic”.
Dr. Jeff Burgess, professor of public health at UArizona, was one of 25 experts invited to participate in an IARC task force to review the scientific literature on the subject. The group found evidence showing that occupational exposure causes mesothelioma and bladder cancer, and limited evidence that it causes colon cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, melanoma of the skin and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Many of the findings, particularly about the epigenetic and receptor-mediated mechanisms of cancer, came from studies conducted by Burgess in collaboration with the Tucson Fire Department, an organization he has worked with for three decades.
“This is a really important finding that our research has helped support, but it’s also just the start,” Burgess said. “Now it’s our job to work with firefighters to help find ways to prevent these increased numbers of cancers.”
The practical application of this research can be considered one of the hallmarks of the success of the partnership between TFD and UArizona: The research has identified interventions that can reduce firefighter exposure.
And TFD is now able to share these results with other departments nationwide.
“I am very proud of the partnership with Arizona University of Health Sciences and the Firefighters Cancer Cohort Study,” said Darin Wallentine, retired deputy chief of safety and welfare. be from the Tucson Fire Department. “During my time with the Tucson Fire Department and the Safety and Wellness Division, the Tucson Fire Department has become a national leader in firefighter cancer research. Being named co -author of groundbreaking studies on the occupational exposure of firefighters is a tremendous honor and a career-rewarding achievement.”
A summary of the final assessments that led to the new classification was published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, titled “Carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter”.
“The new classification puts even more emphasis on the need to reduce exposure and to look at other ways to modify the effects of exposures,” Burgess said. “We need to find a way to prevent or reverse these effects, beyond simply reducing exposures.”
KGUN 9 recently partnered with the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation as part of our Donate Project. The non-profit organization helps support the health and well-being of firefighters with a number of free services, including cancer screenings.
For more information on the Fire Foundation:
Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne made her television debut while still a student at the University of Arizona. Prior to joining KGUN, she managed several public access television stations in the Bay Area and worked as a video producer in the nonprofit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne via email [email protected] or by connecting to instagram Where LinkedIn.