VIDEO: Firefighters work to save our lives every day. Now, they need help fighting for theirs as they battle more than just fires.
According to Dr. Arny Ferrando, a professor at UAMS, firefighters are nearly five times more likely to develop cancer than the average American. The area around their throat where they wear protective hoods, is a breeding spot for carcinogens.
That's why Captain Billy Jones said the North Little Rock Fire Department jumped on the opportunity to work with UAMS's cancer research team to help them better diagnose thyroid cancer.
“In the recent past we’ve had one [firefighter] pass from thyroid cancer and a number of guys right now are fighting cancer and still working on the job,” Jones said. “You're scared and worried this going to happen and then you get over the hump and say I want to find out and I want to know early.”
The department is working with a team of researchers training dogs to sniff out thyroid cancer in blood and urine samples.