WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Recent statistics show a troubling trend in the fire service industry.

Occupational cancer is now the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters, even surpassing heart disease.

Over the past two years, as many as seventy five percent of firefighter deaths have been attributed to certain forms of cancer.

In an effort to help reverse the trend, the International Association of Firefighters along with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network have designated January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month.

The goal is to focus prevention practices and improve state legislation to help reduce the risk of cancer.

” Cancer awareness month helps us get the information out to the public, which in turn helps us to get legislation passed. The more people who know, realize that this is something that’s going on, the easier it is to make your piont to lawmakers

Capt, Andy Joltes, President, IAFF Local 12 Wheeling Firefighters

Most states have some type of presumptive cancer legislation.

It’s helpful for firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer to receive treatment, compensation or even financial aid for their families.