DetecTogether has been stationed at the Providence Fire Department, delivering its 3 Steps Detect education to all of the city’s firefighters. The training spanned two weeks and was generously supported by Amica Companies Foundation, Rockland Trust Bank Charitable Foundation, Mr. Ellis Waldman, and Mr. Sam Chase.
Because of exposure to carcinogens on the job, firefighters have a 9% higher risk of developing cancer and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer than the general public. Two in three firefighter deaths in the U.S. each year are caused by cancer.
DetecTogether teaches firefighters how to identify early symptoms of cancer, gives a timeframe for action, and empowers them to collaborate with their doctors for best health outcomes. When detected early, the survival rate for cancer is much greater than when detected in late stages.
“Firefighters need to be educated about the signs and symptoms of cancer, motivated to pay attention to their own health changes, and empowered to seek timely care, ask questions and make decisions with their physicians,” says Tricia Laursen, DetecTogether’s President & Executive Director. “They understand on the job that responding with speed and confidence makes a difference to the outcomes. We are teaching them that the same holds true with their response to cancer with our 3 Steps Detect program.”
On Friday, July 15, the training included guest speaker, Mike Fagan. Fagan, a Norwood, Mass. firefighter, learned 3 Steps Detect at his firehouse last fall and put them into action when he was experiencing health changes. After advocating for himself with his primary care doctor and getting a colonoscopy, Fagan was diagnosed with Stage II colon cancer. Because his cancer was caught early, Fagan has recovered from surgery, is now cancer-free, and will soon return to work.
Catching cancer early is lifesaving and significantly reduces health care costs for firefighters and the city. Through the generosity of donors, DetecTogether is able to bring its education to Providence for free. In addition to teaching 3 Steps Detect, the non-profit is also helping to organize a skin-screening for the Providence firefighters in the fall, an important part of Step 1: Know Your Great. The department will also start using DetecTogether’s Online Learning for Firefighters which, in addition to 3 Steps Detect, includes 10 short lessons covering topics such as compiling your medical history, identifying and tracking symptoms, and how to prepare for doctor appointments.
FREE Online Learning for Firefighters
The platform includes our 3 Steps Detect training along with 10 short lessons covering topics such as compiling your medical history, identifying and tracking symptoms, and how to prepare for doctor appointments. Firefighters can access the platform by clicking the link below.