SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Firefighters face all kinds of dangers on a daily basis. Some we can see, such as fires and car accidents. But another serious danger for those first responders is one we cannot see – cancer.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, firefighters have a 9% hire risk of developing cancer and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer compared to the general public. To help ensure those who risk so much are ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting cancer, the South Charleston Fire Department is trying something new.
This week, members of the SCFD have been taking part in new testing. One blood draw can show doctors the “signals” of several different cancers at once.
“I think it’s pretty neat. You know, obviously Chief White had a big hand in getting it, getting this company in and getting us tested, which is awesome,” said South Charleston Fire Department Captain Michael Taylor. “And you know, I’m grateful for him going out and going above and beyond, and getting theme in there and getting to start this out and, hopefully, other fire departments in the state follow suit.”
The idea is to detect fast-spreading, aggressive cancers that don’t show symptoms in early stages.
“We have personal protective equipment that we typically use, but there is still also a possibility we could come into contact with different carcinogens that are out there. An aspect of doing the job,” said Taylor.
The South Charleston Fire Department is the first in the state to participate in these screenings.