Monday, February 8, 2010

Thyroid cancer

Do I have your attention? Cancer seems to affect so many of us. I am sure you at least know someone that has cancer. Personally, I have had a spouse who has been battling cancer and I have been squeaking by on a variety of medical issues that are cancer related. Today a fine needle biopsy of the thyroid. So why do I bring this up here?

Real simple, if you are reading this you are probably in the fire service, and may have even fought a fire or two. Ok, maybe a few more than that. Here's the deal. We are finding that cancer is very prevalent among firefighters. Thyroid cancer is quickly becoming a concern. Why? Think about wear your Nomex collects all the chemicals, most of which are carcinogens in the toxic environment we call smoke....when was the last time you cleaned your hood?

Your thyroid is located in an area that is closest to the skin. Hence, it is susceptible to the permeation of the carcinogens from the hood. So, what do you do....first be sure to get a medical exam every year....use NFPA sure to read it as it is more comprehensive then you was how I found out that I had nodules in my sure to do this annually....oh and that hood you wear....wash it! BTW - a number of my colleagues from another department in Florida are dealing with this issue it can happen to you!

If you have a medical issue as a result of firefighting, I challenge you to share it and let us all know what we can do to prevent it from happening to others.....we are NOT invincible....the it can't happen to me is the biggest joke we can play on ourselves, the problem is it may cost you your life....let's hear from you.....

Further reading on the subject
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  1. I feel your pain wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer the same day she found out she was pregnant with our 2nd child. She had surgery to remove her thyroid in the 2nd trimester and had a complete removal of her thyroid. Thankfully the surgery, birth of my son, and radition tratments were a success and she is about 6 months away from hitting the 1 year mark.

    it was the toughest and hardest thing I have ever gone through. Thankfully it was a good outcome. Thanks for bringing attention to this.

  2. Today, I was notified that one of our young firefighters (26 years old) has thyroid cancer and is beginning extensive treatment. What a shock to all of us.

    He is so new to the job that he has less than 300 hrs of sick and vacation time built up. The folks in the dept. are rallying to keep him fully paid while he undergoes treatments, and getting him and his family in touch with

    Thank you for bringing up this important topic and providing such valuable info.

    Batt. Chief
    U.S. Forest Service

  3. I have 21 years in... So no I'm not new. I can't remember the last time I washed my hood or gear for that matter. I also have taught for our states fire academy and privately for the Navy for a total of 10 years. Long and the short of it is... exsposure.

    Found out today I have a 3.4 CM tumor with calcifications. (that means not good news) I go in next week for fine needle aspiration biopsy.

    My wife noticed one side of my neck looked funny and one thing leads to another and here I am. I googled this and no I'm typing here.

    for WA State FF's

    The irony is I am the second man this year in our 80+ FF department to go through this.
    Our state doesn't consider Thyroid Cancer presumptive. Hell I don't know that I have cancer. I TRULY hope I don't! But this has my attention now.

    How did your case turn out?

    Take care,


  4. I am Bill Hoover (the guy listed above) and I did have Papillary Carcinoma. I had a 3.4 cm tumor and a second one that was small and well as 10 lymph nodes effected.

    I am 2 weeks past surgery.. The whole process went very fast and now I'm used to the thyroid meds and getting ready to do the radio active iodine.

    Anyone reading this that comes up with good links regarding this "new" FF cancer please post!

    and if you have a lump on your neck... GET IT LOOKED AT!


  5. I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer at the age of 23. I am now 49 years old. One thing to let everyone know is that the science continues to grow towards all sorts of Cancer. I had a thyroidectomy followed by 11 years (not continuous) of Radiation treatments. For all that time, my thyroid checks consisted of going off my thyroid replacement hormone for 6-8 weeks and then a small dose of radiation followed by a full body scan. Now it is a blood test. Stay Positive, enjoy life and don't forget to laugh.

  6. Thanks for the hint, I was looking for sth. like that for months :-)

  7. Thyroid problems can be prevented by a right consumption of food rich in iodine, avoiding radiation and also by taking medicines or supplements like bovine thyroid . It can help cure and eliminate thyroid diseases.

  8. When evaluating children with a thyroid nodule, they are usually divided into either prepubertal or post-pubertal allowing to make some distinctions. Children will usually present perfectly healthy but will have a lump or nodule in the thyroid and/or hard persistent swollen lymph glands in the neck. If the nodule is large the child may have trouble breathing or swallowing and have a hoarse voice.

  9. I have been on the job for 7 years. I have also been teaching and helping with live burns for the past 3 years. Last year I developed thyroid cancer. I had the surgery in DEC of 2010 and recently finished a round or radiation treatment. Since developing the cancer I have been in contact with several other firefighter from near by departments that have had the same issue. we have become a network of help for each other. I am currently a lieutenant and I have been strictly enforcing that the guys clean their gear on a regular basis. thanks for posting the great information. I also wanted to mention that your departments should not nickle and dime over physicals. My cancer was found during a physical that was only for HAZMAT members. since then the physical has become mandatory for everyone.

  10. I have been a FF in a large metropolitan department outside of the nations capital for 11 years. In 2004 I noticed a lump in my throat (my family and co-workers joked it was an adam's apple) and decided to have it looked at at my family doctor. He sent me to an endocrinologist who did blood work and sent me for a needle aspiration/biopsy. Results came back benign and that it was just a 3cm nodule. Thyroid levels were fine as well. I was told if I felt the nodule getting bigger than I should have it checked out again. Well, I never noticed the nodule was bigger because it doesn't grow very fast. Early this year, I became pregnant with my 1st child. During routine blood work for my OB it was found that my levels were off. It happens in pregnancy but they wanted my to check it at an endocrinologist. That doc took one look at my neck and sent me for a sonogram of it in the next room. I was scheduled for another needle aspiration the following week to confirm what she obviously could see on the sonogram. Thyroid Cancer. Probably the scariest thing to hear when your 2 months pregnant. When I hit my second trimester I underwent a total thyroidectomy. When my beautiful baby girl was born I underwent a dose of radioactive iodine. Things so far are ok but like everyone else I'll be popping synthroid every day. I'm glad to hear that they are starting to link this cancer with firefighting. Since being diagnosed I have asked over and over how it could have happened. Best wishes for everyone fighting/dealing with this scary disease.


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