SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center is working with the Department of Fire Services (DFS) to offer cancer screenings to Massachusetts firefighters who meet certain criteria, including firefighters who have been on the job for at least 10 years and are at least 40 years old. At the time of screening, there should be no clinical symptoms of chest disease, such as cough, excessive sputum production, or shortness of breath.
“There’s no doubt that early detection saves lives,” said Ashley LeBlanc, nurse practice manager of Thoracic Surgery and nursing director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Mercy Medical Center. “Many diseases are found as the result of symptoms such as pain or unintentional weight loss. These symptoms usually don’t appear until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Cancer screenings can proactively and safely detect disease early and allow the patient to start treatment at a time when it is most effective.”
Screenings are covered by a cancer-screening grant funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the Department of Fire Services. The following screenings are being offered as a part of the DFS grant: low-dose lung CT screening; thyroid, renal, abdominal, and testicular or external pelvis ultrasounds; mammograms; and lab work for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Applications must be submitted through the Department of Fire Services at hraccess-us.technomedia.com/mfa to make sure applicants are eligible for this program.
For those deemed eligible, the Department of Fire Services will provide a voucher for each screening. Once deemed eligible and given the voucher, participants should call Mercy’s Fire Fighter Cancer Screening Program at (413) 748-9608 to schedule an appointment. They should also print the voucher and bring it on the day of their screening.