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Mission City Council approve cancer screenings for full-time firefighters

City of Mission, Texas logo (Source: Facebook)

Everyday firefighters risk their lives to serve the community, exposing themselves to dangers that can affect their health.

All of which occurs from exposing themselves to fires, along with the toxic smoke and chemicals involved in them.

Lieutenant Homer Salinas of the Mission Fire Department has been active in the field for over 20 years and knows the scenarios all to well. However in October, he experienced the negative affect of the chemicals that they expose themselves to everyday after learning he had Renal Cell Carcinoma, a kidney cancer that can be developed from toxic chemicals found in fires. Lt. Salinas lost one of his partners in the field due to the disease and another colleague of his that is currently battling with it.

"It's a shocker and this happened during the past 10 years," Salinas said.

An ongoing concern in the firefighter community, according to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, by the age of 60, twice as many firefighters die from cancer than cardiac arrest.

With the growing problem, the City of Mission approved to provide free IvyGene Tests for their firefighters, to help take action first hand and save the lives of the firefighters in the community.

"An effort to having screening out, so our fire fighters can have a lead way to being able to detect the disease within the primary stages," Martin Garza, Mission City Manager, said.

All 67 firefighters will be having access to the test at no cost, all of which will be paid by city funds The test will identify the presence of breast, colon, liver and lung cancer.

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