Firefighter Cancer Research Priorities Workshop Report

The OCRC has released a report on findings from the Firefighter Cancer Research Priorities Workshop. This workshop was jointly hosted by OCRC and Health Canada in December 2022 and attended by approximately 70 provincial, national, and international stakeholders and scientific collaborators.

This report outlines past and ongoing research on cancer and firefighting, both in Canada and internationally. It summarizes the major knowledge gaps and priorities for firefighter cancer research identified by workshop participants. An assessment of Canadian research capacity and expertise is used to identify research priorities that Canada is well-placed to address.

Key findings from the workshop include:

  • The key gaps identified by workshop participants fall into the categories of underrepresented populations, epidemiology studies, exposure studies, mechanistic and toxicology studies, intervention studies, behavioural studies, knowledge translation, data collection and data resources, governance and government action, and health surveillance and screening.
  • Ten research priorities were agreed upon by workshop participants, relating to intervention research, personal protective equipment, surveillance data collection and/or data sharing, cancer screening, biomarkers of effect and mechanistic evidence, legislation, exposures and effects across different types of firefighting, impacts on firefighters’ spouses and families, knowledge translation, and understudied populations.
  • Recommended research priorities for Canada include studies investigating 1) underrepresented populations, particularly wildland firefighters; 2) exposure interventions, including those that examine the effect of control strategies on biomarkers of exposure and effect; 3) mechanisms of cancer; and 4) exposure, including improved exposure assessment for epidemiology research.

Supplemental Information: A full list of gaps identified at the workshop will be added shortly.