Go to AAD Home
Donate For Public and Patients Store Search

Go to AAD Home

Shielding our heroes: Dermatologists deploy to provide free skin cancer checks to 425 NYC firefighters

Event kicks off the American Academy of Dermatology’s and Firefighter Cancer Support Network’s national program to check 10,000 firefighters for skin cancer by 2026

NEW YORK CITY (May 28, 2024) The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), in conjunction with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, will host a free Skin Cancer Check event for an estimated 425 New York City firefighters on Saturday, June 1 at the New York City Firefighter Training Facility on Randall’s Island.

The inaugural event kicks off the Academy’s Firefighter Skin Cancer Checks Initiative, a nationwide effort designed to provide free skin cancer checks to 10,000 firefighters by 2026. Firefighters are at an elevated occupational risk for skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States and one that is easily treatable when detected early. The initiative to increase skin cancer awareness and early detection among firefighters was highlighted by Biden Cancer Moonshot as a commitment to help end cancer as we know it.

“These brave people rush toward danger to protect us all on a daily basis,” said board-certified dermatologist Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “By offering comprehensive skin cancer checks, dermatologists are extending a lifeline to these courageous individuals, recognizing their sacrifices and contributing to their continued well-being as they selflessly serve our communities.”

Data shows that firefighters have a 21% greater risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than the general public. While unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is the greatest preventable risk factor for skin cancer, firefighters are exposed to cancer-causing substances in the line of duty, especially when fighting fires, which can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

“The Firefighter Cancer Support Network provides education to firefighters around the globe on how to protect themselves from the heat, smoke, and toxins they are exposed to on and off the job,” said Russell Osgood, Vice President of Education, Outreach and Research for the organization. “The opportunity to work with the AAD providing firefighters screenings for cancer is another way to connect with firefighters and reduce the risks associated with the job.”

Due to the unpredictable nature of emergency situations and repeated exposure to toxins, it is critical for firefighters to undergo rigorous health monitoring and preventative measures to reduce the cumulative effects of their hazardous work environment.

“The fight against cancer is deeply personal to every one of us in the FDNY,” said Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “We know screening and prevention can make a difference. Our members’ health and safety are of utmost importance, and we encourage our members to get their skin checked annually. We are grateful to participate in the Firefighter Skin Cancer Checks Initiative.”

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, and because it can spread to lymph nodes and internal organs, early detection and treatment are essential.

“Skin cancer can have devastating effects on your health, and can be fatal if not detected and treated early,” said Dr. Desai. “The American Academy of Dermatology is committed to educating the public about the critical significance of regular skin cancer checks, especially for people like firefighters and those in other professions who are at a greater risk. If you notice anything on your skin that is changing, itching, or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org/findaderm

# # #


Rhys Saunders, rsaunders@aad.org

Shelby Homiston, shomiston@aad.org

Media Relations, mediarelations@aad.org

More Information

Firefighter Skin Cancer Checks

Firefighter Cancer Support

SPOT Skin Cancer

AAD B-Roll Library

About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 21,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care because skin, hair, and nail conditions can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow @AADskin on  Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube and @AADskin1 on Instagram.

Editor’s note: The AAD does not promote or endorse any products or services. This content is intended as editorial content and should not be embedded with any paid, sponsored or advertorial content as it could be perceived as an AAD endorsement.