The Children of Three Firefighters in Honolulu Got Cancer. How?

According to an article from Khon2, locals on Honolulu Island in Hawaii are starting to raise concerns after the children of three firefighters from the Waipahu Fire Station were diagnosed with rare forms of cancer: osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Currently, nothing is being done to investigate the fire station or otherwise determine if there could be some connection between the three cases.
Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that most commonly occurs in teenagers and young adults; Ewing’s sarcoma is a cancer that usually originates either in bone or soft tissue. Click here to learn more about osteosarcoma. To learn more about Ewing’s sarcoma, click here. The predicament of the three children has communicated to the Hawaii Department of Health, but the official statement from the agency was skeptical about the possibility of there being any connection between the three cases. After all, at this juncture, neither osteosarcoma or Ewing’s sarcoma has been definitively to linked to any environmental causes; there are no known chemical or substances that are known to increase the risk. The agency believes that cases have to be mere coincidence, citing the fact that there had been no uptick in the rates of cases for either forms of the cancer. On average, only four cases of osteosarcoma and one case of Ewing’s sarcoma are identified each year in the state.

Despite the assessment from the Department of Health, Bobby Lee, the president of the Hawaii Firefighters Association, is skeptical. For him, the response from the department can hardly give comfort to the firefighters or their cancer ridden children, particularly since nothing has been done to consider a connection between the cases. Fire Chief Manuel Neves is also worried that more cancer cases could appear and is preparing to investigate the problem further with help from industry experts. The Department of Health also plans to offer feedback and expertise as well.

The circumstances of the situation are curious. If an investigation proceeds and is successful in finding some risk factor that is present at the station, it would represent a possible breakthrough in understanding the causes of osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.

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