Program offers free bladder cancer screening for firefighters

November 2, 2006

Firefighters in five Rhode Island communities are being offered free screening for bladder cancer in a voluntary program paid for and sponsored by their local state representatives.

Firefighters in five Rhode Island communities are being offered free screening for bladder cancer in a voluntary program paid for and sponsored by their local state representatives. Legislation to make bladder cancer testing available annually to all firefighters in the state is also being sponsored by the representatives.

The program is designed to build awareness that firefighters are at an increased risk for bladder cancer and death from the disease, according to a statement from Matritech, the Newton, MA, maker of the NMP22 BladderChek Test, which is the test being used in the screening program.

Rep. Peter T. Ginaitt (D-Warwick) is leading the effort to enact legislation to create a statewide program to test for, collect data on, and educate firefighters about bladder cancer and their risk for the disease. Studies have shown that individuals who have environmental and occupational exposure to certain chemicals, including burning material and soot, have a higher risk for the disease.