IRSST Examines Association Between Firefighting and Cancers
A review of the recent literature on cancer in firefighters found that the epidemiological data provide little certainty about the association between firefighting and the development of some forms of cancer. Researchers from IRSST, a nonprofit scientific research organization in Québec, Canada, reviewed more than 600 publications produced between 2007 and 2017, and they deemed 25 publications to be relevant. According to IRSST’s report, the strongest evidence of association is an excess of mesothelioma cases among firefighters who were active more than 30 years ago. These cases are likely the result of asbestos exposure. Researchers found that lung cancer is not as strongly associated with the occupation of firefighter; however, since lung cancer is known to be linked to the same exposures, researchers could not rule out lung cancer as being occupationally related to firefighting.  The new review found no conclusive evidence of association between firefighting and any other cancer type, but studies reviewed by IRSST and literature included in a previous review conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported more frequent cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and prostate cancers among firefighters.  IRSST’s full report is available