â€œYou have cancer.â€
The veteran firefighter, a lieutenant with the Naperville Fire Department, was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 46 years old.
Thousands of first-responders have faced that fight. A newly released study looked at 30,000 firefighters from three departments: Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia over nearly 60 years.
The conclusion, according to Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2: â€œOur cancer levels will be higher than the average person.â€
Chicago firefighters are two and half times more likely to develop mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. They also have a higher rate of digestive and respiratory cancers and develop kidney, bladder and prostate cancers far younger than the average age of 65.