National Firefighter Health Week: Stand Strong Against Cancer

Thursday, 19 August 2010
Sponsored by:

It’s National Firefighter Health Week, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) wants to help you keep your heart, mind, and body strong. We encourage you to use this week to focus on your overall wellbeing and start making the healthy lifestyle choices that will keep you strong all year long.
Each day this week, the NVFC is sending out an email with tips and tools to help you focus on the daily health topic. The five focus topics this year are behavioral health, personal protective equipment (PPE), heart-health, cancer, and nutrition and fitness. Find more resources and tools in the National Firefighter Health Week Resource Center at

Remember, only you can keep it strong. Are you up for the Challenge?

Thursday, August 19: Stand Strong Against Cancer

Firefighters and emergency responders may face increased risk of cancer due to environmental and behavior factors. Exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos, soot, and tobacco smoke are linked with certain types of cancers. Take this day of National Firefighter Health Week to identify your cancer risks and what you can do to minimize these risks.

Quick Tips:

  • Always wear full PPE when at the fireground to lessen risk of exposure to smoke, soot, and contaminants.
  • Refrain from smoking, or quit if you are currently a smoker. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Get regular screenings for common types of cancers to ensure that if you do have cancer it is caught early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.
  • Lifestyle choices that can help lessen your risk of certain types of cancer include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, liming alcohol consumption, and protecting your skin.
  • Find support and resources for firefighters with cancer, as well as for their families and department members, from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network at

Activity Ideas:

  • If you smoke, make a plan to quit. The NVFC’s Put It Out smoking cessation initiative has tools and information to help you – visit to get started today.
  • Implement a smoking cessation campaign in your department. Even if you don’t smoke, you could be increasing your risk of cancer through exposure to second-hand smoke. Plus, by helping your department members become smoke-free, you’re improving the health of your whole team. Find information and tools at
  • Get screened. Regular health screenings help you stay in charge of your health and can ensure you catch any problems early. Talk to your doctor about what screenings you should receive and make your appointment today.
  • Put on your sunscreen – and more. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, protect yourself by seeking shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

Article Links:
The Pulse:

Fire Department Network News:


Quote of the Day

“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell.”

- Lance Armstrong



Media Room