Hoosier firefighters face higher risk of dying from cancer than non-firefighters

December 3, 2018, Indiana University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Hoosier firefighters face a significantly higher risk of dying from cancer than non-firefighters in Indiana, according to a study that shows death from malignant cancers was the leading cause of death for Indiana firefighters between 1985 and 2013.

Of 2,818 Indiana firefighters who died between 1985 and 2013, 30.4 percent died from . The study found the firefighters experienced an estimated 20 percent increase in the odds of dying due to malignant cancers compared to non-firefighters.

This study is unique in that it is one of the first to match an exposed firefighter population to an independent comparison group of non-firefighters from a general population.

The are in the paper "Excess mortality among Indiana firefighters, 1985-2013," which was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

"The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of chronic disease deaths among Indiana firefighters from 1985 to 2013 compared to non?firefighters," said Carolyn Muegge, a in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, who is also a research scientist at the National Institute for Public Safety Health in Indianapolis and first author on the paper.

"Firefighters are exposed to toxic agents, increasing their risk for cancer and ," Muegge said. "We examined the odds of cancer and cardiovascular mortality of firefighters relative to a matched group of non?firefighters from the general population."

To compare firefighters and non-firefighters, each firefighter death record was matched to four non-firefighter death records by age at time of death, sex, race, ethnicity and year of death.

Heart disease was the second leading cause of firefighters' deaths, accounting for 824, or 29.2 percent, of the deaths. There was no difference in the odds of death due to cardiovascular diseases between firefighters and non-firefighters.

When the causes of deaths of firefighters between 1983 and 2013 are looked at in five-year increments, research shows heart disease had been the leading cause of Indiana firefighters' deaths until 1995, when "the burden of cancer significantly surpassed heart disease," the paper stated.

Heart disease was the leading cause of in the non-firefighter comparison group, at 29.6 percent, followed by malignant cancers at 27.1 percent.

According to the researchers, the leading cause of firefighter deaths—cancer and heart disease—underscore the need for implementing and expanding cancer and risk factor reduction programs and policies for firefighters.

Explore further: Study examines cancer rates among World Trade Center-exposed firefighters

More information: Carolyn M. Muegge et al. Excess mortality among Indiana firefighters, 1985-2013, American Journal of Industrial Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22918

Related Stories

Study examines cancer rates among World Trade Center-exposed firefighters

September 9, 2016
Researchers found no overall increase in cancer risk among World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed firefighters following the 9/11 attacks compared with other firefighters from several US cities. They noted a nearly 4-fold increase ...

Heart disease common among firefighters who die of cardiac arrest

September 5, 2018
Firefighters who died from cardiac arrest were much more likely than those who died of other causes to show signs of both atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease at autopsy, according to new research in Journal of ...

Firefighters may face higher odds for skin cancer

December 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Exposure to firefighting chemicals may be one reason why Florida firefighters have a higher-than-normal rate of skin cancer, a new study suggests.

Hot under the collar: The untold dangers firefighters face in the line of duty

May 4, 2015
What do you think is the biggest cause of death for firefighters on duty? Well if your first thought was burns or smoke inhalation you'd be wrong! According to research published in the June edition of Vascular Medicine "since ...

Obese US firefighters report receiving no weight advice from their health provider

July 11, 2014
Obese and overweight firefighters are not receiving weight management advice from their health care providers, according to new research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Sleep disorders found to be highly prevalent in firefighters

November 13, 2014
Sleep disorders are independent risk factors for heart attacks and motor vehicle crashes, which are the two leading causes of death for firefighters in the United States. In a national sample of almost 7,000 firefighters, ...

Recommended for you

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Effect of oral alfacalcidol on clinical outcomes in patients without secondary hyperparathyroidism

December 11, 2018
Treatment with active vitamin D did not decrease cardiovascular events in kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis, according to a research group in Japan. They have reported their research results in the December 11 issue ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

Licence to Swill: James Bond's drinking over six decades

December 10, 2018
He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia's Christmas ...

Obesity, risk of cognitive dysfunction? Consider high-intensity interval exercise

December 10, 2018
It's fast-paced, takes less time to do, and burns a lot of calories. High-intensity interval exercise is widely recognized as the most time-efficient and effective way to exercise. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers ...

How to survive on 'Game of Thrones': Switch allegiances

December 9, 2018
Characters in the Game of Thrones TV series are more likely to die if they do not switch allegiance, and are male, according to an article published in the open access journal Injury Epidemiology.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.