Life-Saving Early Cancer Detection Training for Firefighters
Occupational cancer is a critical issue facing the nation’s firefighters. Members of the fire service have a 9% increased risk of developing cancer and a 14% greater risk of dying from cancer than the general public. Cancer is the #1 cause of line of duty death.
Practicing prevention methods improves our chances of staying healthy. Early detection improves survival rates. DetecTogether teaches people how to seize the power of early detection with the 3 Steps Detect program.
DetecTogether’s Online Learning program teaches firefighters how to detect cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and causes life-saving action. It’s free, easy to use on any device, and also includes 10 micro courses that cover topics like: “identifying and tracking symptoms,” and “prevention, early detection, and screening.”
Learning From Firefighter Cancer Survivors
Firefighter Kyle O’Neill’s life was extremely stressful both personally and professionally. He found himself tired all the time but chalked it up to stress and his hectic lifestyle. One day, he noticed an abnormal growth in his testicle. Seeking advice from a trusted friend, he headed to the ER to be checked out. After a battery of tests, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes. His advice to others: If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Don’t wait! Read Kyle’s story.
At 37, Wellesley (MA) Firefighter Joanie Cullinan was diagnosed with melanoma. Joanie took advantage of a free skin check offered by her union and was told to watch a spot on her back and have it checked by her physician. The mole was melanoma, one of several cancers that firefighters have an elevated risk of developing. Her advice to others: When screenings are offered, take advantage of them and if you see something on someone else, say something. Read Joanie’s story.
Ryan Kelley, 35, learned the 3 Steps Detect program at his fire station in Worcester (MA) and took advantage of a free Firefighter Skin Cancer Screening that DetecTogether offered with UMass Memorial Health. After examining a scab that wouldn’t heal, the doctor set up a biopsy for the next day, and Ryan later had surgery to remove the carcinoma. His advice to others: Don’t wait as long as I did to get checked out. Read Ryan’s story.
A letter, self-advocacy and early detection saved Bill Spillane, Chief of the Dedham Fire Department (MA), who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 59. Now, through partnerships with organizations like DetecTogether and O2X, Chief Spillane is committed to helping firefighters pay better attention to their overall health and fitness. His advice to others: Early detection and screenings saved my life. I encourage you to take the time to understand your unique cancer risk. Read Bill’s story.
Leah Kosolofski was diagnosed with bladder cancer at 46. A career firefighter, she knew her elevated cancer risk and advocated for herself when experiencing health changes. “I had to educate and bring awareness to my doctor, who didn’t know that firefighters have a greater risk for cancer. In fact, firefighters are 18% more likely to develop bladder cancer than the general population.” Her advice to others: Be an advocate for yourself and educate your doctors about firefighter cancers. Read Leah’s story.