Fire fighters are more likely to develop certain types of cancer than workers in other fields, says a new study.
Grace LeMasters and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Ohio, analysed data on 110,000 fire fighters from 32 previously published scientific studies to determine the comprehensive health effects and correlate cancer risks of their profession, reported science portal EurekAlert.
Risk for 20 different cancers was classified into three categories-probable, possible or not likely.
The researchers found that half the studied cancers-including testicular, prostate, skin, brain, rectum, stomach and colon cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and malignant melanoma - were associated with fire fighting on varying levels of increased risk.
'There's a critical and immediate need for additional protective equipment to help fire fighters avoid inhalation and skin exposures to known and suspected occupational carcinogens,' said one of the researchers.
'In addition, fire fighters should meticulously wash their entire body to remove soot and other residues from fires to avoid skin exposure,' he added.
The findings of the study have been published in the November edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
'Fire fighters work in an inherently dangerous occupation on a daily basis. As public servants, they need and deserve additional protective measures that will ensure they aren't at an increased cancer risk,' said LeMasters.