The screenings are available for Clovis firefighters under 40, those who have retired, and their spouses at a reduced cost.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Firefighters put their lives on the line to save others every day, but on Friday in Clovis, their lives and health were put first with free cancer screenings.
In the spring, Clovis Firefighters were screened for skin cancer.
Eight of 64 of those tested came back positive for significant cases.
While they're all doing okay now, it prompted the department to offer more screenings.
The testing being done today and tomorrow is said to detect fast-growing cancers early in hopes of creating better outcomes. Just 10 minutes, a little paperwork, and a couple of vials of blood for Clovis Firefighters to get screened for more than 50 types of cancer.
"I had a mother die young from cancer, so I feel just from a personal standpoint that it would be good to get early detection," said Clovis Fire Captain Kory Mullin.
In a few weeks, those who were tested will receive the results of the Galleri multi-cancer early detection test, which is said to detect cancers that often don't show symptoms in the early stages.
"This works really well for the fast-growing cancers," said Clovis Captain Nolan Stempson. "So the dirty dozen, such as pancreatic, liver, lung so on and so forth that develop very rapidly in their body and typically you don't know about until its too late."
It took a little more than a year of planning and convincing, but the Clovis Fire Department is covering the testing for all Clovis firefighters over the age of 40.
According to the CDC, cancer is the leading cause of death for firefighters, and they have a 9% greater chance of being diagnosed and are 14% more likely to die a cancer-related death than the general population. Part of their increased risk is due to constant exposure to carcinogens.
"Now we have all these different types of stuff that when they off-gas, and they catch on fire, they're horrible, and breathing that stuff in is killing firefighters," said Stempson.
"Especially when we're exposed to other things, sleep deprivation, we don't sleep as much as the general population that goes home every night."
Testing will continue on Saturday. It is also available for Clovis firefighters who are under 40, those who have retired, and their spouses at a reduced cost.
Stempson said seeing large fire departments around the state get their crews tested convinced him Clovis should offer it.
Now, he's hoping this inspires other local departments or first responders in the area to do the same.