Firefighter Aims To Catch Cancer Early

Apr 26, 2018

A new non-profit and an Indiana laboratory have teamed up to promote early cancer detection for firefighters.  The group of emergency responders faces a greater risk of cancer.

Chris Conner founded Firefighters Against Cancer and Exposures, FACEs, to support firefighters going through cancer treatment.  Firefighters encounter more cancer-causing chemicals than they used to. 

"Things nowadays are built more out of plastic, produce more carcinogens, we’re surrounded a lot more, cancer has become the number one leading cause of firefighter deaths," says Conner. 

Conner teamed with Laboratory for Advanced Medicine, LAM, to provide new testing practices.  Manager Nick Miner says the IvyGene test has already been offered to hundreds of firefighters. 

"It’s a blood test that looks for a specific methylation sites that is shown to be present when cancer is elevated," says Miner.  

FACEs chose the testing because of its accuracy and affordability.  

"Early detection is what it’s all about," says Conner. "We’re not just trying to prolong lives we’re trying to cure and save lives."

The laboratory offers the tests to firefighters at a reduced cost.