Pancreatic Cancer Canada announces new partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network

February 4, 2024 – As we recognize World Cancer Day, Pancreatic Cancer Canada is proud to announce a new partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) dedicated to providing support and resources to firefighters diagnosed with cancer. 

Cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters today. The 1.2 million active firefighters across North America face the harsh reality that they are likely to receive a cancer diagnosis because of their heroic service. 

World Cancer Day is a global initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) dedicated to raising worldwide awareness, improving education, and taking action to ensure access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all. It is a fitting occasion to announce a partnership that is dedicated to improving support for a community that is particularly impacted by this disease. 

At Pancreatic Cancer Canada, we have been working with firefighters diagnosed with pancreatic cancer who were denied occupational cancer coverage, causing additional stress and trauma for their families grappling with an already fatal diagnosis. It was through this work that we realized that the people who put their lives at risk to protect our communities were, in turn, not receiving the support they deserved.   

As a result of our advocacy work to change legislation related to presumptive risk for firefighters, and our record of success in providing support and counseling to pancreatic cancer patients and their families, we sought out new opportunities to step up and expand our work to all cancers that impact firefighters,” explained Michelle Capobianco, CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Canada. 

The partnership between Pancreatic Cancer Canada and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network has been established to deliver high-quality, credible, and accessible support to first responders with all cancers and their families. This powerful collaboration will amplify the collective efforts of each organization to make a real impact on the lives of firefighters, their families, and the communities they serve.  

Currently, we support firefighters through our badge-to-badge peer support mentorship program that matches newly diagnosed firefighters with fire-service mentors who have first-hand knowledge about battling cancer,” said Joe Schumacher, COO, Firefighter Cancer Support Network. “Through this new partnership, we hope to expand and enhance this program to make it more wide-reaching and accessible to the firefighter community. 

Coping with a cancer diagnosis comes with many challenges. Firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer because of occupational exposure deserve specialized support as they navigate these challenges. This new program will enhance and advance the development of a peer support and crisis counseling model of support specific to firefighters and their families as well as enhancing the existing FCSN badge-to-badge support program.