LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- A 54-year-old firefighter taken by brain cancer will be remembered with full honors Tuesday morning. John DeLucchi, 54, is the fourth Las Vegas Fire & Rescue member to die from brain cancer in the past 10 years.
His death comes on the heels of a recent study that revealed a possible link between cancer and fighting fires.
Union president Scott Johnson says about a dozen firefighters had been diagnosed with cancer, mostly of the thyroid, in the past five years.
“We have received some attention because of that because our incidents are much higher than the national average for that type of cancer,” Johnson said.
That's why he's keeping a close eye on any information linking firefighters and cancer.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published the first part of a study this month, examining 30,000 career firefighters in three major cities in a 60-year period.
It found firefighting may be associated with increased risk of respiratory, digestive and urinary system cancers. Because firefighters in the study had twice as many cases of mesothelioma than the general population, it suggests cancer could be an occupational disease from asbestos hazards.
Firefighters know it's a deadly risk. But for those who knew DeLucchi, it's one worth taking.
“The things he took pride in is a firefighter, he wouldn’t have it any other way than the way it was,” said Chris Raban, who fought fires alongside DeLucchi for 11 years.