New bill proposes early cancer detection funding for firefighters

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Josh Gottheimer announces ground-breaking cancer detection bill

In the presence of members from the Professional Fire Fighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ), at the Hackensack Fire Headquarters, Representative Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey has unveiled new federal legislation.

This legislation promises to make a difference by providing funding for fire fighters to undergo multi-cancer early detection tests, along with other preventative tests, free of charge.

In the announcement, Gottheimer highlighted the significance of the proposed legislation.

Endorsements for the early cancer detection bill

The Fire Fighter Investments to Recognize Exposure to Cancer Act (FIRE Cancer Act), has earned the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the PFANJ, and a number of other fire service agencies.

The general president, Edward Kelly, showed strong support for the legislation: “This legislation is an important tool in our fight against cancer,” said Kelly. “If we can make sure fire fighters get tested early for multiple types of cancer, countless fire fighter lives will be saved.”

The silent killer: firefighters and cancer risk

Gottheimer addressed the often overlooked health risk fire fighters face: “What’s not talked about enough is the silent killer [cancer] fire fighters come home with after the fire. Early cancer detection saves lives, and the fire fighters need resources to access cancer testing,” he said.

He further pointed out, “If you are a fire fighter, you should be screened for cancer on a regular basis without having to worry about the cost.”

Echoes of New Jersey state legislation

It is important to note that similar legislation has already been implemented at the state level in New Jersey.

PFANJ President Steve McConlogue mentioned the crucial role the association played in the passage of the state legislation: “The PFANJ led the way lobbying for the passage of that state legislation and fully supports the FIRE Cancer Act.”

McConlogue also emphasised that “Multi-cancer early detection testing will continue to be a priority for the PFANJ, as the health and safety of our members is always paramount.”

Implications of the bill becoming law

Should this bill be signed into law, it will offer fire fighters access to comprehensive health evaluations, blood tests, and ultrasounds that could detect more than 50 types of cancer.

IFSJ Comment

This new legislation represents a critical step in recognising and addressing the health risks that fire fighters are exposed to.

Early detection of cancer can significantly improve survival rates, making this a crucial development for those in the fire service.

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