A national firefighter cancer registry is inching closer to reality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking for input on how to encourage more than 1.1 million U.S. firefighters’ participation in the registry. The Firefighters Cancer Registry Act of 2018 requires the CDC to create and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters.
The legislation to create the national registry was sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown. “We know this is just a first step and there’s a lot more work to do to protect our first responders,” Brown said. “This is an important step toward getting the Firefighter Cancer Registry set up and running.”
Brown said the data collected by the registry will be evaluated along with existing state data to better assess and prevent cancer among firefighters. The enrollment process for the cancer registry is set to begin next year. Ohioans interested in offering their input have until May 28, 2019 to submit their comments to the Federal Register.
Jason Mayberry, a spokesman for the Columbus firefighters union says the registry is sure to raise awareness within the profession. “What we’re experiencing as firefighters is dear to our hearts and we’re losing way too many of us so awareness would be number one and this is definitely a platform to increase that,” Mayberry said.
In addition to establishing the voluntary registry, Brown’s bill requires the CDC to develop a strategy to maximize participation, develop guidance for state agencies, encourage inclusion among participants and to seek feedback from nonfederal experts.