CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — With December coming to a close, it is now time to prepare for Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month this upcoming January.

During Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month, organizations like the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) educate people on how to reduce the impact of cancer on firefighters. 

“Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters, accounting for more than 65 percent of the line-of-duty deaths added to the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall of Honor each year,” said IAFF General President Edward Kelly. “We must educate ourselves and do everything we can to prevent occupational cancer. Together, the IAFF and the FCSN are dedicated to do whatever it takes to keep firefighters healthy on and off the job.”

The awareness campaign focuses on “the scope of the cancer problem, prevention best practices, leadership tactics to encourage prevention and skills to help cancer survivors and departments reduce their risk of occupational cancer.” This is usually done though the use of safety stand downs, factsheets, podcasts, survivor stories and training briefs.

Through online resources such as daily training information, infographics that promote the program on social media and podcasts addressing important cancer topics and the latest research, the topics are discussed.

“As we continue to learn more about the link between firefighting and cancer, it is more important than ever that we take steps minimize the risk firefighters face every single day,” said FCSN CEO Bryan Frieders. “The science around firefighter exposures is constantly changing but with continued research we learn more and more and are better equipped to introduce prevention practices to reduce our risk of developing occupational cancer.”