Firefighter Cancer Skin Exams

Let’s start with some numbers.  1 out 12 current Columbus Ohio Firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer.  48% of those cancers are skin cancers.  Some of you may be aware that firefighters have a high absorption rate of toxins.  Our fire gear does a great job of protecting us from fires, but does not protect ourselves from being exposed to the chemicals and carcinogens in the modern fire atmosphere.  These absorption rates actually increase 400% for every 5 degrees our body temperature rises during a fire!


The Dayton Fire Department took a proactive approach today by having the Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology Associates set up shop at our training center and evaluate on duty firefighters, their families, and our retirees.  Today was the first of three Wednesdays in which the dermatologist will be at the Dayton Training Center to evaluate members of all three platoons.  The program was established through Columbus Firefighter Mark Rine.  Mark was diagnosed with stage IV Melanoma on September 11th, 2012.  Mark was told that if he had a skin exam a year earlier his cancer would not have advanced and he would not be considered terminal.  With that in mind, Mark created the non profit organization SKNLUV.  SKNLUV works with local dermatologist to offer free initial skin exams to first responders.  The goal is to catch skin catcher in it’s early stages, early detection is the absolute key.  Mark also provides fire departments with a video that tells his story, and discusses firefighter cancer awareness, and prevention measures.


Here is the news story from Fox 45/ABC 22:


If you are an Ohio Firefighter check out Marks website to see if there is already a relationship established with a dermatologist near you.  If not contact his website to see if a relationship can be established.

If you are a non Ohio Firefighter your department or Union may be able to contact a local dermatologist.  The dermatologist can go to the firehouses, or firefighters can go to the dermatologist office.  The initial screenings are done for free.  If a further evaluation is needed the firefighter is scheduled to go to the dermatologist office and their insurance is charged.  Nearly half of all firefighters have issues that need further evaluation or treatments.


I would like to personally thank Mark for bringing this program to the Dayton Fire Department and other departments across the state.  The bonus for us today was Mark talking to the DFD 2016 Recruit Class.  I’m scheduled to train them on firefighter cancer awareness, prevention, and support tomorrow.  I have a tough act to follow.

Here is also the website for Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology Associates:

Jim Burneka