Firefighter Works to Curb Cancer by Cleaning Gear

(NBC NEWS) A Colorado firefighter is curbing cancer by cleaning dirty gear.

South Metro Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Operations Troy Jackson has battled a lot of fires in his 30-year career.

Now, he’s battling cancer after being diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma five years ago.

Since then, he’s endured chemo, radiation, surgeries and needles.

“The doctors know I will die from this cancer what that timeline looks like for me is a little hard to say. I won’t live past another ten to fifteen years,” said Jackson.

The chief says his cancer is from firefighting because it’s so rare and started in his airways.

“If I could go back and do it all over, I wish we knew the impact carcinogen would have on us during our career. I wish that we knew that walking around with dirty filthy gear was not good for us and having it in the station and on the rigs,” said Jackson.

Fifteen South Metro firefighters are currently battling cancer, matching the national trend.

That’s why Jackson and his fellow firefighters are practicing new protocol to stay safe.

Firefighters must wash off right after a fire and change out of dirty gear right away to stop carcinogens from settling into their skin.

“Even if I only help one person not go through chemo and radiation and live through a cancer diagnosis, I’m ahead of the game,” said Jackson.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the general U.S. population.

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Categories: Across the Nation, US & World News, WMGT

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