ARIZONA NEWS

Valley first responders getting early cancer diagnoses due to partnership

Apr 5, 2019, 3:20 PM | Updated: 4:11 pm
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — A partnership between the city of Phoenix and a Scottsdale medical center has led to five first responders being diagnosed with cancer since November.

Radiation Oncologist Dr. Vershalee Shukla with Vincere Cancer Center said she has screened 164 first responders to date, 132 from fire and 32 from police.

“We picked up two prostate cancers, we picked up two skin cancers, and a lung cancer,” Shukla said.

Shukla said the most interesting thing she found from these screenings was the amount of lung nodules she discovered.

“We found 40 lung nodules. This has never been done with first responders before, only smokers. So with low-dose lung C.T. testing we were able to discover these nodules and now monitor them.”

The program to allow first responders to get screened free of charge was created in November. It now reaches first responders across the Valley.

Phoenix city councilwoman Laura Pastor put it in motion with the intention of getting as many first responders screened as possible due to the high likelihood of getting cancer on the job.

“When you put a blue shirt on and become a firefighter, your risk of cancer raising 25 percent, just by taking an oath,” Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said.

Mesa Firefighter Nikki Sullivan died on Wednesday of cancer that she developed while on the job. In January, Phoenix firefighter Rick Telles died of an aggressive form of occupational cancer.

Jason Underwood, an engineer and paramedic with the Chandler Fire Department, said he has always been active and dedicated to his health over the last 22 years on the job.

But after a Chandler Fire Department captain died of lung cancer last year, Underwood decided to get a screening for himself.

“I went in for a clean bill of health and they told me I had cancer,” he said.. “It was a Thymoma, a cancer in the thymus gland.”

“It was very small, they usually don’t catch this kind of cancer until Stage 4, but because of this screening they caught it early.”

Underwood was off a fire truck for nearly three weeks after the infected area was removed. He’s now encouraging all his fellow first responders to get screened.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on...
KTAR.com

Republican Arizona treasurer Kimberly Yee withdraws from governor’s race

Arizona treasurer Kimberly Yee announced Saturday she will be withdrawing from the Republican primary for governor.
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

18-month-old girl in critical condition after drowning incident in Paradise Valley

An 18-month-old girl was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition after a drowning incident in Paradise Valley Saturday morning, authorities said. 
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police arrest wanted man involved in multistate manhunt

A man wanted for shooting a New Mexico police officer and fleeing a Colorado jail was arrested early Friday morning in Phoenix, police said.
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

Man arrested for allegedly shooting teen fast-food worker in Phoenix

A man was arrested Friday evening for allegedly shooting a 16-year-old fast-food restaurant worker in the head after an altercation in Phoenix on Thursday night, authorities said. 
1 day ago
FILE - Martin Luther King III speaks during a rally for voting rights, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, on ...
Associated Press

MLK III: History to remember Sinema unkindly over filibuster

PHOENIX (AP) — Martin Luther King III came to Arizona with harsh words for Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose refusal to change the Senate’s Jim Crow-era filibuster rules makes voting rights legislation unlikely to pass. King told a crowd campaigning to protect voting rights that Sinema cannot simultaneously express support for the legislation while also […]
1 day ago
(City of Glendale Photo)...
KTAR.com

New 4-acre lake at Heroes Regional Park in Glendale now open

Grab those fishing poles as the new lake at Heroes Regional Park in Glendale opened on Thursday, the city announced.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Valley first responders getting early cancer diagnoses due to partnership