Perceptions of health and cancer risk among newly recruited firefighters in South Florida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Despite hazardous exposures to cancer-causing agents in the line of duty, the main health and safety concerns of active firefighters have yet to be studied. We compare the perceptions of health and cancer risks between rookie and experienced firefighters. Methods: Focus groups were used to investigate potential risk of job exposures, and broad-based concerns regarding work and health. An 18-item demographic survey was also administered. Five focus group sessions were conducted with a total of 57 firefighters. Results: Our findings indicate that both rookie and experienced firefighters have a “high risk, high reward” mindset and identify injury, chronic disease, and stress as main health concerns. Experienced firefighters reported a shift in firefighter culture related to health. Conclusion: The perception of health and cancer risk of rookie and experienced firefighters differ in the prioritization of their concerns, however both groups equally report occupational cancer risk as their main health concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • cancer
  • firefighters
  • occupational health
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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