Prevalence and predictors of skin cancer screening among a sample of US volunteer firefighters

Nimit N. Shah, Michael B. Steinberg, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, Elena Austin, Jefferey L. Burgess, Brittany S. Hollerbach, Derrick L. Edwards, Taylor M. Black, Kathleen Black, Kaleigh M. Hinton, Brian S. Kubiel, Judith M. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Firefighters have a higher risk of melanoma incidence and mortality compared to the general population. In the United States (US), the National Fire Protection Association recommends all firefighters receive annual skin cancer screening through visual skin examination by a clinician. However, there is limited information on skin cancer screening practices among volunteer firefighters who comprise two-thirds of the US fire service. Methods: This cross-sectional study of 552 US volunteer firefighters estimated the prevalence of skin cancer screening and evaluated associations with their fire service experience, demographics, sun protection practices, and cancer risk perception. Results: The prevalence of receiving skin cancer screening among volunteer firefighters was 26.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 22.4, 29.8). The odds of being screened for skin cancer, compared to not being screened, were twice as high for firefighters who used sunscreen (odds ratio [OR]: 2.35, 95% CI: 1.48, 3.73) and who perceived their skin likely to burn with prolonged sun exposure (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.10, 3.00). Older age, some college education, and family history of skin cancer were also positively associated with skin cancer screening. A positive exposure-response relationship was observed between more monthly firefighting calls and receiving screening. Cancer risk perception was not associated with screening. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first large study to assess skin cancer screening among US volunteer firefighters. Our findings suggest gaps in skin cancer prevention efforts in the volunteer fire service. Additional assessment of skin cancer prevention practices within volunteer fire departments could help address these gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-903
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • cancer screening
  • clinical visual skin examinations
  • firefighters
  • occupational cancer prevention and control
  • skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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