Yep.  It’s another skin cancer spot.

I’ve sensed it for quite awhile as I watched this open wound on his forehead, right where his helmet rides, never really heal.  We’re talking months.  And shame on us  (me for not nagging?  him for not listening?) we didn’t press hard enough to get a quick appointment.

When he finally called, it was still 2 months out.  But today we finally reached that day and the official news.   I don’t know the full medical term (something something carcinoma) but it’s slow growing and we’re just waiting for the next appointment for it to be removed very soon.

Oh, and the second spot too, but that one is kind of different looking and I’m not sure what to think yet.

It’s not our first rodeo.

So far we’ve been super lucky.  I actually have zero emotional reaction except let’s git ‘er done.  Take the actions to have it removed and follow up, follow up, follow up with the 6 month check ups.

The C word isn’t going to steal one ounce of worry and fear from our souls.  Amen?

Coincidentally our local news ran a shortly after finding out.



Quoted from the article:

The fire union found in one year, 53 new cancer cases, with nearly half being skin related. It’s all following study after study of an increased risk for firefighters contracting eight different types of cancer including testicular, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, brain, prostate, stomach and colon. “For almost all chemicals that are absorbed through the skin — the higher the temperature, the faster they’re absorbed,” researcher Stuart Baxter, PhD. said. “The presumption was correct — that the cancer was contracted as a result of their occupation.” Since 2006, researchers at the University of Cincinnati have gathered evidence of a link between firefighting and cancer. From the unfiltered clothes they wear, to when and how often it’s washed and repeat exposure to more toxic environments. “These are not the same couches, sofas, carpets, cabinets that our moms and dads used to put in their houses,” Rine said.

Our story will continue.  Just needed to sort of get this off my chest right away because it may just prompt one person to call their dermatologist today and have that “spot” checked out.  There are quite a large number of cancer related organizations all with various missions.

Click HERE more resources and information on cancer and cancer prevention.

Some raise money for cancer research.

Some for awareness.  Don’t let it be you!

Others raise money to support the families dealing with it’s effects.  Many targeted to specific varieties of cancer and demographics, including a few related to firefighter cancer.

Oh, and here’s a little something.   Wash your gear, including your helmet!!!

Firefighter Cancer Foundation and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network are two in particular that I have interacted with personally and share on this site. Thank the good Lord for people who put all that time, money and energy into running those organizations with such a fervent passion.  It’s a reality of our lifetime and each of us has been touched by this beast in some way.

What are you, your family and your departments doing to lower the chances of occupational related cancer?


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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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  1. Christina Chairs

    Wow I am really going to look into washing our guys gear now I honestly don’t think that they EVER wash their gear! Thoughts and prayers for you guys.

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      Christina yes! Tell them! Spreading awareness and getting them to get good washing machines at the firehouse is so important.

  2. Nicole C

    We too have battled this! It’s probably “Basal Cell Carcinoma”. It’s a nasty little bugger with a high reoccurrence. I pray for clean margins and a swift healing.

  3. Laura Clark

    Please DO NOT wash his gear in your home washer! If there is not one provided at the station, take it to a commercial laundromat. You do NOT want the toxins washed out of his gear and onto your family’s clothing. Unless the washer has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after washing his gear, your family is at risk!

  4. Bianca

    If it’s Porocarcinoma, it is beatable. Don Not go on a google search, after you have the doctor spell it. Rare and agressive were the words my dermatologist used to describe it. MOHs Surgury is the normal treatment. If caught early, an exceptional survival rate. This firefighter is 4 years cancer free. It can be done, but shouldn’t have to be. With the wives on this one, wash your gear!! Much better, less risk.

  5. Heather Kosky

    My FF husband was just explaining the arduous process that is required to properly wash their gear. I know he’s done it after every fire he’s been in, thank God! Great information to have. Thank you, and God bless!

  6. alicia

    “Only” skin cancer isn’t how I’d describe it my best friend lost her fight with melenoma last year at 47 yrs old after 5 yrs of fighting. Please be vigilant and stay on top of it. Dermatologists don’t always send you to an oncologist Please go to one on your own just to be sure/safe.

  7. John Halgren

    17 years on the job. 7 years in remission. Acute lymphocytic leukemia. Diagnosed at age 33. Three guys, all early thirties have been diagnosed with cancer recently. Leukemias to colon cancers. Wash your gear, never breathe smoke, and drop the bravado. There’s nothing ‘cool’ about chemotherapy.

  8. lee

    I’m a firefighter, and a 5x metastatic melanoma survivor. keep fighting brother, you’ve got my prayers behind you.

  9. Todd

    Just got the phone call yesterday, had a mole removed and came back as skin cancer from the biopsy. Surgery on Thursday Patriot day. Not sure what kind it is I was in total shock and couldnt remember what they said I do know it is one of the slow growing ones, but for me cancer is cancer no matter what kind it is. I have been retired for 5 years from the Fire department not how I want to live retirement

  10. Judith Berhow

    Remember, when washing gear, don’t use regular washing detergents. It needs to be a more natural kind. The regular detergents, (tide, gain, etc.) have chemicals in them that can weaken the flame retardant material in your turn out gear.

  11. Robin

    Just found your site through Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Well written and so informative. If you can save even one life, this is so worth while. Things have changed so much since my husband’s name was inscribed on the Fallen Firefighter Walls in California and Colorado ten years ago. A cancer death that might have been prevented. But I know he is in the arms of Jesus and watches over me along with our Savior.

  12. Brn

    Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia fighter. Will be 12 years in Feb of 1st diagnosis. 2 relapses later and still reeling from side effects. Hasn’t stopped me yet. Supposedly pediatric, but starting to wonder if the relapses weren’t caused by fighting fire. Gear if not washed directly after a fire, sometimes hard to, should be done roughly once a week. Especially the hood, even if they don’t see fire wash the hood. Agree with not bringing it home to wash, but if you take it to a cleaners, it DOES NOT get dry cleaned. You will damage the materials. If you use a washer, use cold water, water above 100 degrees will also ruin the materials. As for detergents, the manufacturer should list a detergent to use. I do know some tell you to use Tide. My company uses a detergent specifically for gear. When drying, should just use air no heat to minimal heat. Gear is allowed to shrink only so much and the added heat will help with this. Just a little PSA from a quartermaster from a small VFC in pa.

  13. Andrea

    My firefighter hubby got diagnosed with Melanoma last year at 32… Praise the Lord for the support of his amazing department! But wow is it scary!


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