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Fiskville Cancer Report
CFA members who worked and trained at CFA Training College Fiskville between 1971 and 1999 did not develop cancer at a higher rate than the general population of Victoria, a report prepared for CFA by Cancer Council Victoria has found.
Listen to Mick Bourke talking with Steve Martin on ABC Ballarat:
CFA CEO Mick Bourke said the report may bring comfort to many CFA members who used the training facility during the period.
“The results of the report will be welcome news for people who trained or worked at Fiskville between 1971 and 1999,” Mr Bourke said.
“I hope this may give our people some peace of mind.”
Cancer Council Victoria researchers studied a cohort of almost 600 volunteer and career firefighters who were at risk of exposure to hazardous materials during the period and were also identified on the Victorian Cancer Registry.
61 of those were diagnosed with invasive cancers.
The report concluded:
Overall, this cohort of firefighters did not have an increased incidence of cancer.
The excess risks obtained using the principal analysis based on using the entire population of Victoria as the reference population were attenuated and became statistically non-significant when the reference population used was restricted to the Australian-born component of the Victorian population.
Mr Bourke said the report identified the most common invasive cancers as prostate (14) and melanoma (13), which was indicative of both a male cohort, and one which worked outdoors.
The report was commissioned as part of a commitment made by CFA in response to the 2012 Professor Joy Report Understanding the Past to Inform the Future which investigated historical firefighter training practices at Fiskville.
The Professor Joy Report found the vast majority of people who visited, lived or trained at Fiskville between 1971 and 1999 fall in the low or negligible risk category of exposure to chemicals.
Mr Bourke said a parallel epidemiology study was being conducted by Monash University as part of a larger body of work into incidence of cancer in firefighters across Australia is due for completion around the end of 2014.
Work to address recommendations of the Professor Joy Report and additional management initiatives were well advanced, and throughout the past three and a half years Fiskville has remained safe for staff, trainees and visitors.
Anyone affected by cancer is encouraged to call the Cancer Council’s Helpline on 13 11 20. This is staffed by experienced cancer nurses with oncology qualifications.