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Cancer is a leading cause of death among Canadian firefighters, according to a University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) study, which draws on a decade of data from worker compensation boards.

The study, titled Determinants of Injury and Death in Canadian Firefighters: A Case for a National Firefighter Wellness Surveillance System, found that 86 per cent of all firefighter workplace fatality claims were blamed on cancer, and firefighters are killed by cancer at a rate about three times higher than the general population.

“Now we’re talking about between 50 and 60 firefighters that are dying [from cancer] annually across Canada associated with their profession, and that’s very concerning,” said Len Garis, Surrey’s fire chief and an adjunct professor at UFV who co-authored the study.

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