Background: Recent epidemiological research on firefighters indicates an increased incidence of specific types of cancer. Intervention is needed in the fire service yet little is known about how firefighters perceive their cancer risk. Methods: Participant observation (150 h, n = 100) and focus group (n = 17) data were collected from 15 fire stations in South Florida. Firefighters had at least 3 years of experience, ranks included drivers, captains, lieutenants, and specialty captains, with a median age of 51 years. Results: From the qualitative analysis, two major categories (direct and indirect factors) for cancer risks emerged based on participant notions of cancer risk and cancer prevention behaviors as they relate to firefighting. Conclusions: Firefighters perceive cancer risks as the result of performing essential job tasks and from indirect job factors related to being a firefighter. The two categories of cancer risks suggest different points of entry for intervention.
- high reliability organizations
- occupational health
- qualitative methodology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health