Are Firefighters at Risk for Lung Cancer?
Firefighters face a higher risk for lung cancer because they are exposed to many aerosolized chemicals, including:
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Diesel exhaust
A firefighter’s risk level is even greater when these exposures are combined with other risk factors for lung cancer:
- Smoking history of 30 Pack-Years (such as 1 pack/day for 30 years; 2 packs/day for 15 years). Smoking combined with other factors can multiply your risk by 100 times.
- Lung diseases like emphysema or chronic bronchitis
- Genetic predisposition and family history of lung cancer
- Previously treated lung, esophageal or head and neck cancer
Firefighters need to understand their unique risk and be proactive in minimizing other modifiable risk factors (quit smoking) and seeking early detection screenings.
How We Can Help
- Get Screened. Roswell Park’s Lung Cancer Screening Program is specifically for people with known risk factors. The purpose of the program is to detect lung cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most effective.
Think you may be at high risk? Fill out our high-risk assessment form or call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) to determine your eligibility for screening. Do we ask about history of firefighting, construction jobs or other professions on this form?
- Quit Smoking. We can connect you with tobacco cessation programs through New York State’s Quitline.