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Monash to conduct FV cancer study
One of Australia’s most respected cancer research institutions, Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, has agreed to investigate the cancer incidence and all causes of mortality among Fiskville trainers and instructors.
Renowned researcher and Head of School Professor John McNeil will oversee the study, which was a key recommendation of the Professor Rob Joy Report “Understanding the Past to Inform the Future” into training practices between 1971 and 1999.
CFA CEO Mick Bourke said the Monash study was a key commitment following the Professor Joy Report and honours the serious commitment we have made to our members.
“Conducting this study is an important step in examining any link between chemicals used at Fiskville during the period identified by the Professor Joy Report and the incidence of cancer,” Mr Bourke said.
“We are fortunate to have such a world class research institution in Monash available to us.”
The Monash study, titled CFA Cancer Incidence and Mortality Study will examine the incidence of cancer and causes of death of those identified by the Professor Rob Joy Report in the moderate and high risk category of exposure to chemicals. These groups include approximately 250 people.
The rates of cancer and death among these people will be compared to national rates available via the Australian Cancer Database and the National Death Index. The group will be compared with Monash University’s national Australian Firefighters’ Health Study. The study is expected to be completed by late 2014.
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.
Once completed, the Monash study will inform any future discussions about support for affected members. Mr Bourke said the study would not affect workers’ compensation claims.
“We understand that the findings of the Professor Joy Report may have raised concern for some of our members and we acknowledge this is a difficult process for some,” he said.
“We remain committed to providing ongoing welfare assistance and support.”
Work also continues on a Health Surveillance Program announced earlier this year.
CFA’s People and Culture team is contacting those who may have had high or medium risk of likely exposure to chemical products as outlined within the Professor Joy Report.
Almost all people known to be in the ‘high’ category have been contacted and all of them have been invited to participate in the five year health program.
The offer has been taken up by 50 people and an additional 44 family members have been offered a one-off medical examination.
A significant number of the people in the ‘medium’ category have also been identified and initial contact has been made.
Mr Bourke also said significant progress had been made to act on the 10 recommendations of the Professor Rob Joy Report and 11 additional management initiatives.
“While fully implementing these recommendations and initiatives is likely to take some years, the end result will provide peace of mind to all associated with CFA and provide Victoria with an even better firefighter training facility,” Mr Bourke said.