Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month

Fire fighter occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service. At the 2023 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, 63% of the names added to the wall were members who had died from occupational cancer.

In partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), the IAFF has designated January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month to provide fire fighters the necessary tools and guidance to develop life-saving protocols for cancer prevention and to support those with a cancer diagnosis within their departments.

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Online Cancer Awareness Course

UNDER REVISION – the condensed version of the online Cancer Awareness course is scheduled to launch in early 2024.

This course is designed to help members avoid and decrease individual risk factors for cancer.

In addition to understanding why fire fighters are at increased risk of cancer, this training will:

  • Describe the most prominent types of cancer that affect fire fighters
  • Identify the top carcinogens in the firefighting environment
  • Review the major routes of exposure to carcinogens for fire fighters
  • Encourage behavior changes that can reduce the risk of developing cancer


PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a large family of manmade chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. PFAS is used in fire fighter turnout gear and poses an unnecessary occupational threat. The IAFF is actively working to ensure that a pathway exists for PFAS-free alternatives to the current materials used in turnout gear.

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Presumptive Health Initiative

Find out what is covered in your state/province under presumptive care for cancer (along with behavioral health, heart disease, infectious disease and lung disease):

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As part of a mutual desire to help fire fighters and EMS personnel who are impacted by cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are working together to fight cancer in the fire service.

The IAFF-ACS collaboration will provide new resources, tools and prevention techniques to help protect fire fighters with the hope of preventing future disease, while providing critical patient support services across the country to improve the quality of life for fire fighters living with cancer and advocating for improved access to care.

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NIOSH Firefighter Cancer Study

In 2010, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers, with funding assistance from the U.S. Fire Administration, launched a multi-year study to examine whether fire fighters have a higher risk of cancer and other causes of death due to job exposures. The study was designed to address limitations of previous firefighter cancer research.

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National Firefighter Registry

Following the passage of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in July 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now directed to undertake the collection of detailed data on the occurrence of cancer in fire fighters. The ultimate goal of the registry is to better understand the link between workplace exposures and cancer among fire fighters with the potential to provide a better understanding of cancer risk among under-represented populations of fire fighters.

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