Flames are not the only thing firefighters battle; cancer is their biggest threat

Flames are not the only thing firefighters battle; cancer is their biggest threat
Preventative measures such as annual health screenings and professional extractor washers are what’s keeping firefighters healthier longer. (Source: KAIT-TV)

TRUMANN, Ark. (KAIT) - Firefighters are always thanked and appreciated for their hard, lifesaving work, but the danger is not only the heat.

Future health issues also put them at risk. A member of the Trumann Fire Department says cancer and disease among firefighters are high.

Volunteer firefighter Robert Mabe says retirement isn’t long for firefighters because of exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens.

However, Mabe says there are many more preventative measures now than ever before.

“People shouldn’t be scared of it,” he says. “We’re aware of the hazards now more than we used to be. Is it going to make it risk-free? No, but in the fire service, we know it’s not risk-free.”

Mabe had cancer himself in 2018. Metastatic colon cancer was detected early on and he underwent two surgeries to battle it.

Doctors told him it was directly linked to his 23-year-firefighting career.

Preventative measures such as annual health screenings and professional extractor washers are what’s keeping firefighters healthier longer.

Mabe says he has no regrets in his firefighting career but says he wants to help prevent future generations of firefighters from following the same cancerous footsteps.

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