A Massachusetts firefighter has died after a courageous battle with cancer, the chief of the Fitchburg Fire Department announced.
Lt. Eddie Suarez, who was president of Local 3128 and an active Fitchburg firefighter, died early Sunday morning after battling cancer for a long time, the fire department said on Facebook.
Suarez had been battling "job-related cancer," according Local 3128.
Lt. Suarez was dedicated to serving the citizens of Fitchburg and members of the firefighters' union, the group said on Twitter.
"Eddie served the citizens of the city & members of the local with tenacity, pride and dedication," the union said in a tweet. "Rest In Peace."
A growing body of research and data shows that job-related exposures contribute to chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Two large studies from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that focused on firefighter cancer concluded that firefighters face a 9-percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14-percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S.
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The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on July 7, 2018, requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters to collect history and occupational information that can be linked to existing data in state cancer registries.
The registry is used to improve monitoring of cancer among firefighters and to collect and publish epidemiological information regarding cancer among firefighters.
Lt. Suarez leaves behind his wife, two daughters, his parents, and his brother, Fitchburg Fire Captain Dante Suarez.