CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Free mammograms are now available to Massachusetts firefighters, the Department of Fire Services (DFS) announced Monday.
According to DFS, occupational cancer is the leading cause of death in the fire service. Mammograms help in the early detection of breast cancer and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), screening is recommended for women aged 50 to 74 years, every two years.
“Firefighters are at greater risk of developing cancer, developing it at younger ages, and receiving a late diagnosis than the public they protect,” said State Fire Marshal Davine. “This includes the growing number of women firefighters in Massachusetts and across the nation. As we kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re proud to announce that we’ve added mammograms to the array of free cancer screening options we offer to Massachusetts firefighters.”
In 2022, nearly 75% of the names added to the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial represented occupational cancer deaths. The health insurance available to firefighters often does not cover cancer screenings at the age or frequency appropriate to their risk, if at all. To address this serious health concern, the Department of Fire Services works with volunteers and contracted vendors through the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy to provide
Along with mamograms, Massachusetts firefighters are eligible to receive skin and oral cancer screenings, ultrasounds, chest computed tomography (CT) scans and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests for free.
“Cancer awareness, prevention, and early detection are key survival tools for firefighters,” State Fire Marshal Davine said. “If you’re working in or retired from the fire service, please talk to your primary care provider about your increased risk of cancer. And if you’re a medical professional, please familiarize yourself with the grave risk that occupational cancer poses to your firefighter patients.”
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