Scottsdale cancer center diagnosed 22 firefighters with cancer this year

Dec 16, 2019, 4:15 AM | Updated: 9:47 am
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)...
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — A Scottsdale-based cancer center has had a busy year diagnosing Valley firefighters with cancer.

Vincere Cancer Center diagnosed 22 firefighters with cancer in 2019, according to oncologist Dr. Vershalee Shukla.

The center started screening firefighters for cancer in November 2018, and melanoma has been the most common diagnosis.

“The other cancers have been rare cancers, we picked up a lymphoma as well but, there’s bladder cancers, all types of cancers, breast cancer, testicular cancer prostate cancer,” Shukla told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “They’re all across the board.”

But what do the cancer screenings for firefighters include?

“It’s custom to each firefighter and their risks,” Shukla said. “But the biggest part is their meeting with me, an oncologist and we’re going through their exposure records, their family history, and their medical history and then I make recommendations based on that.”

Dr. Shukla credits the first of its kind partnership to the progressive mind of Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner.

“She knew this was a problem early on with firefighters and she took the leadership in the country – really no one else in the country has done this,” Shukla added.

“Phoenix firefighters have the opportunity to be screened earlier and more aggressively than anyone else,” Shukla said.

Although Phoenix was the first city to get free cancer screenings for firefighters, several other departments have also included screenings into their benefits.

Conversations at the state level hope to implement cancer screenings across the entire state of Arizona for firefighters.

Four Arizona firefighters have died from cancer in 2019.

But those deaths are not in vain. Many firefighters believes those deaths are changing the culture in the fire department for preventive measures, including early cancer screenings.

“Hopefully, well not hopefully we are catching cancers earlier and saving lives,” Shukla said.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

FILE - Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican...
Associated Press

Lake seeks election records in suit against Arizona county

Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election.
21 hours ago
Carey Johnson and her son Fabian Swain are photographed wearing face masks in their Germantown, Md....
Associated Press

After a year, omicron still driving COVID surges and worries

A year after omicron began its assault on humanity, the ever-morphing coronavirus mutant drove COVID-19 case counts higher in many places just as Americans gathered for Thanksgiving.
21 hours ago
(City of Mesa Photo)...

Merry Main Street with ice rink, other holiday activities returns to downtown Mesa

Mesa's annual Merry Main Street begins Friday and will offer multiple holiday activities for the whole family to enjoy each day through early January.
21 hours ago
Joaquin Santiago Orozco (Mesa Police Department Photo)...

Mesa police involved in shooting with man who allegedly rammed them with vehicle

Mesa police were involved in a shooting with a man late Thursday night who allegedly rammed them with a vehicle after failing to stop for a civil traffic offense, authorities said.
21 hours ago
Brian Hanrahan (Courtesy Photo)...

Silver Alert canceled after missing 78-year-old man found safe

A Silver Alert was canceled Friday after a missing 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix was found safe, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa, Arizona Government, Pexels Photo)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Nov. 25-27

The holiday season is officially underway and there are plenty of events around the Valley this weekend to get into the festive mood.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Scottsdale cancer center diagnosed 22 firefighters with cancer this year