Sen. Schumer proposes medical database for firefighters with cancer

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) poses for a photograph with Chili firefighter Theresa Skelly during a Monday news conference about a voluntary database for firefighters battling cancer (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - There is a new effort to track cancer patients who are also firefighters.

The proposal comes from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who said Monday he wants to create a voluntary national registry.

It would allow the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to better understand the health dangers that come with fighting fires.

"Firefighters, and this is just anecdotal, but are getting cancer at double the rate that other people get these cancers and it's probably, almost certainly because when they go into the fires this stuff is in the air and gets into their systems," Schumer said.

Schumer said the bill, dubbed the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, has bipartisan support. He co-sponsored the bill alongside Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Rep. Richard Hanna (R, NY-22)

“A national registry of firefighters diagnosed with cancer would provide the Centers for Disease Control with better information, which would lead to better medical care for our nation’s first responders,” said Rochester Fire Chief John Schreiber in a statement.

Research has indicated that there may be connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers.

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