MIAMI (CBSMiami) – First responders face many risks, but for firefighters especially there is real concern about the risk of cancer.
“Firefighters are at an increased risk for some types of cancer. Since 2015, over 70 percent of line of duty deaths has been because of cancer,” said Natasha Schaefer Solle, Ph.D., who is the Co-Deputy Director for the Firefighter Cancer Initiative with the University of Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Bus Driver Accused Of Molesting 7-Year-Old Girl
On Wednesday, Dr. Schaefer Solle and her team were at Hialeah’s Fire Station 1 to screen firefighters there for cancer.
“We’ve actually had a clinic for the last two years, and because of the feedback of firefighters of bringing the services to them, because of their work schedule, we really took it to heart, and now we are at the stations with them,” said Dr. Schaefer Solle.
The Mobile Cancer Unit with the University of Miami will head to different fire stations across Hialeah over the next two weeks, screening close to 200 firefighters for different types of cancer. Eventually, they look to expand and give the options to all firefighters who would like to be screened.READ MORE: Partial Roof Collapse At Miami Coin Laundry In Strip Mall, Inspectors Condemned Building
“On the vehicle, we are doing skin cancer, we also do thyroid cancer, and then refer them for colonoscopy, mammography, depending on their age and risk,” said Dr. Schaefer Solle.
Mayor Steve Bovo attended Wednesday’s first of its kind screening in Hialeah.
“Early detection gives you an opportunity to fight,” he said. “I know, from personal experience. I had cancer and thankfully, we found it early.”
The screenings are voluntary, but District Chief David Rodriguez said the majority of his firefighters are taking part.MORE NEWS: CDC Encourages Second Booster Dose For Those Who Are Eligible
“It’s nice to know. You have families at home and you want to make sure you’re safe, and you want to be able to give all that you have, and you want to make sure you’re healthy while you’re doing it,” said Rodriguez.