December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4)

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Research Plus

Fire fighters’ cancer risk

Male professional fire fighters have a raised incidence of cancer compared with the general population, this Australian cohort study found. Eight of the 10 Australian state/territory fire agencies submitted records of all male paid fire fighters (17,394 full-time; 12,663 part-time). These were linked to the Australian Cancer Database and the National Death Index. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) compared with the general population were as follows: overall cancer risk for all paid fire fighters SIR = 1.09 (CI 1.03–1.14); prostate cancer in full-time fire fighters, SIR = 1.23 (CI 1.10–1.37) and in part-timers SIR = 1.51 (1.28–1.77); melanoma in full-timers SIR = 1.45 (CI 1.26–1.66) and part-timers SIR = 1.43 (CI 1.15–1.76). Prostate cancer and melanoma incidence increased with duration of employment and increasing number of fire and rescue incidents attended, suggestive of employment relatedness. Fire fighters’ overall mortality risk was lower than the general population.

Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2016; 73: 761–771. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2015-103467.


Occupational Health at Work December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4) pp40