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Slotkin bill would provide cancer screenings to DoD firefighters

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) on Wednesday introduced new, bipartisan  legislation to provide cancer screenings to federal firefighters at the Department of Defense.

The Federal Fire Fighter Cancer Detection & Prevention Act would provide testing to active-duty and civilian firefighters for prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer as part of their annual Department of Defense physicals.

According to a press release, the testing required by the legislation would be triggered by age thresholds later in firefighters’ careers – their 40s and 50s, when screenings for these cancers are generally recommended, as well as if a firefighter exhibits symptoms or is a high-risk individual. Most testing would occur only a few times during the last 10 years of a firefighter’s career.

The bipartisan bill is co-led by Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska and is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

“Our firefighters charge headfirst into the flames to keep their communities safe, exposing themselves to dangerous toxins in the process. That’s why it’s on all of us to make sure they’re receiving the proper medical care they’ve earned,” said Slotkin. “This bipartisan bill is an important step towards making sure our Department of Defense firefighters are receiving essential preventative screenings for things like prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer. And because the screenings are optional and incorporated into standard Department of Defense physicals, they won’t add any undue burden on patients. I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to get this important bill over the finish line.”

Providing these critical screenings for those who battle the flames to protect us, can literally save firefighter’s lives,” said Bacon. “These screenings for breast, colon and prostate cancer would be offered to firefighters when they reach a certain age, if they choose to take them. I thank Rep. Slotkin for asking me to join her on this important bill.”

“Fire fighters on DOD installations, and in communities around the world, are exposed to carcinogens every day, making us sick. It is critical that the DOD provide federal fire fighters with enhanced cancer screenings to ensure they have every opportunity to identify and beat cancer,” said International Association of Fire Fighters General President Edward A. Kelly. “The IAFF thanks Representative Slotkin for her leadership in introducing this bill and prioritizing the health of federal fire fighters who protect the security of our nation. We urge Congress to pass this legislation and stand with fire fighters in our battle to eradicate cancer from the fire service.”

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