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Cancer Incidence in Florida Professional Firefighters, 1981 to 1999

Ma, Fangchao MD, PhD; Fleming, Lora E. MD, PhD; Lee, David J. PhD; Trapido, Edward ScD; Gerace, Terence A. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 9 - p 883-888
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000235862.12518.04
Fast Track Article

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the cancer risk associated with firefighting.

Methods: Standardized incidence ratio analysis (SIR) was used to determine the relative cancer risk for firefighters as compared with the Florida general population.

Results: Among 34,796 male (413,022 person-years) and 2,017 female (18,843 person-years) firefighters, 970 male and 52 female cases of cancer were identified. Male firefighters had significantly increased incidence rates of bladder (SIR = 1.29; 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.62), testicular (1.60; 1.20–2.09), and thyroid cancers (1.77; 1.08–2.73). Female firefighters had significantly increased incidence rates of overall cancer (1.63; 1.22–2.14), cervical (5.24; 2.93–8.65), and thyroid cancer (3.97; 1.45–8.65) and Hodgkin disease (6.25; 1.26–18.26).

Conclusions: Firefighting may be associated with an increased risk of selected site-specific cancers in males and females, including an overall increased cancer risk in female firefighters.

From the Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health (Drs Fleming, Lee, Trapido, and Gerace) and Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery (Dr Ma), University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; and the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition (Dr Gerace), Washington, DC.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R03-0H03868-01A1).

Address correspondence to: Fangchao Ma, MD, PhD, 1600 NW 10 Ave., RMSB, Rm. 2089, Miami, FL 33136; E-mail:

©2006The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine