Worcester Firefighters Learn How to Detect Cancer Early

DetecTogether delivers early cancer detection education to Worcester Fire Department

During the first week of March, DetecTogether delivered its 3 Steps Detect education to 400 Worcester firefighters. The training was sponsored by The Last Call Foundation and conducted over 32 sessions at the Worcester Fire Department Training Center on Grove Street.

“With the increased risk of a cancer diagnosis, it is imperative that firefighters have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves.”

Worcester Fire Chief Michael J. Lavoie

Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health. According to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), cancer caused 61% of career firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2016. Recent research sponsored by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters have a 9% higher risk of developing cancer and a 14% greater risk of dying from cancer than civilians.

 “When detected early, the survival rate for cancer is much greater than when detected in late stages,” said DetecTogether President & Executive Director Tricia Laursen. “Teaching firefighters, who are at risk because of exposure to smoke and chemicals, as well as from their equipment, about symptoms to watch for and how to work with their doctors to get the necessary care and screenings is critical to improving their cancer survival rates.”

DetecTogether presented their 3 Steps Detect education, which 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.

“With the increased risk of a cancer diagnosis, it is imperative that firefighters have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves,” said Worcester Fire Chief Michael J. Lavoie. “I am very grateful that DetecTogether partnered with our department to help build our members’ awareness of the risk and give them strategies to not only prevent cancer but to detect it early before it is too late.” 

Through the generosity of  The Last Call Foundation, DetecTogether was able to bring its education to Worcester at no cost to the city. Founded in memory of fallen firefighter Michael Kennedy, The Last Call Foundation is committed to identifying and addressing these challenges to enhance firefighters’ ability to safely and effectively fight fires and protect communities.