JUNEAU – On Tuesday, the Alaska Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 131, adding breast cancer to the list of diseases presumed covered by workers’ compensation insurance for firefighters.
“Male firefighters are seven and half times more likely to die from breast cancer than their non-fire service counterparts,” said Sen. Roger Holland, R-Anchorage, the bill’s sponsor. “Without presumptive law coverage, the process to get care can be difficult and expensive at a time when the firefighter and their loved ones should be able to focus on treatment, wellness and sometimes end-of-life decisions.”
Between 2002 and 2019, cancer was responsible for two-thirds of firefighter line of duty deaths.
"The same mechanism that would cause increases in breast cancer in men is thought to be able to result in proportional increases in risk among women, who are now becoming a large proportion of firefighters," said Holland.
In Alaska, there are currently nine other ailments covered by presumptive laws to facilitate coverage for firefighters, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, primary brain cancer, kidney cancer and prostate cancer.
SB 131 passed 20-0. It is now on its way to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Media Contact: Malia Barto Alaska Senate Majority Malia.Barto@akleg.gov (907) 465-3990