The chemical Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is one of the most common firefighting agents used by firefighters. It’s a mixture of water and fluorocarbon chemicals sprayed on fire to suppress it. While effective at putting out fires, this foam has been linked to certain types of cancers in humans exposed to it over time.
What Are the Different Cancers Linked to AFFF Exposure?
Multiple studies have proved the link between AFFF exposure and cancers. A 2017 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) research also concluded the same. In fact, there are so many cases of AFFF exposure leading to cancer that there is a class lawsuit against AFFF manufacturers who didn’t warn about the same.
If you or a loved one developed cancer post-exposure to this chemical, you could file an AFFF lawsuit to claim justice. Currently, there are over 2,700 cases filed in this class action lawsuit. If you win the case, you can get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial problems you face.
The following are some of the cancers associated with exposure to AFFF:
Thyroid cancer is a disease in which cells in the thyroid gland become abnormal and grow out of control. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland. It is situated just below your Adam’s apple.
You might not have any signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer at first. But as the disease grows, you could have swelling in your neck, a change in your voice, and difficulty swallowing.
Testicular cancer is cancer that starts in the testicles. It is a type of germ-cell cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common in men between the ages of 15 and 35, with about 9,000 new cases diagnosed in 2022 in the United States.
Testicular cancer is curable when it’s found early. If you notice any changes to your testicles, see a doctor immediately so they can check you out. The main symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one or both of your testicles. The lump can be painless or painful, depending on whether it’s cancerous (harmful) or not.
Other symptoms include:
- A dull ache in your scrotum
- A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
- An enlarged scrotum that feels like it’s filled with fluid
- A sudden collection of fluid within the scrotum that causes it to swell up suddenly (called a hydrocele)
As the name suggests, rectal cancer originates in the rectum. The rectum is the lower end of the large intestine that starts towards the end of the colon and ends at the passage leading to the anus.
Some common signs of rectal cancer are:
- The presence of blood in stools
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- A change in bowel habits
- Weakness or fatigue
Prostate cancer is common cancer in men and the most common cancer in men in the US. It’s also the second leading cause of death among men, after lung cancer. Prostate cancer typically affects older men, with nearly 60% of cases after age 65.
What causes prostate cancer is not clear yet, but it’s believed that certain factors like genetics, diet, and lifestyle may put you at risk. There are several common causes of this condition, including:
- A family history of prostate cancer
- Age (the incidence of prostate cancer increases with age)
- A diet high in fat, especially red meat and dairy products
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
Several types of cancer can form in the liver. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer that originates in the liver cells. Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma are other types of liver cancer, but they are less prevalent.
Some symptoms of liver cancer include sudden weight loss, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, and chalky stools.
Kidney cancer is among men’s and women’s 10 most common cancers. Kidney cancer tends to be more common among older adults. The median age at diagnosis is 71, but it can occur at any age. Nearly half of all kidney cancers are diagnosed after they have spread beyond the kidneys, making them difficult to treat successfully.
The exact causes of kidney cancer are not known. However, genetics and lifestyle factors may play a role in its development. Most kidney cancers are diagnosed when they are still small and can be removed with surgery. But some kidney cancers are not found until they spread to other body parts.
People who work with AFFF may be at an increased risk of developing kidney cancer because AFFF contains chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). These chemicals are known carcinogens, which can cause cancer in people who breathe them in over time.
Colon cancer begins in the large intestine. It generally starts with benign polyps in the colon that become cancerous over time.
Colon cancer is treatable with surgery, radiation, and other drug treatments. It is advisable to get screened for colon cancer after age 45 as it may show no symptoms and is fairly common after that age.
What Can You Do if You Were Affected by AFFF Exposure?
If you were exposed to AFFF, there are several things you can do. First and foremost, seek medical attention. If you have been exposed to a large amount of AFFF, it is essential that your doctor know what has happened so they can treat your symptoms appropriately.
Second, contact a lawyer who specializes in military toxic exposure claims. These lawyers will help you navigate the complex legal process of filing an AFFF lawsuit.
The link between AFFF exposure and cancer has been well-documented by the CDC. The District Court of South Carolina has consolidated all the lawsuits in this matter into multidistrict litigation to ensure affected parties are suitably compensated. A professional lawyer with experience in such cases would help you build a strong case and get the justice you deserve.
The various cancers linked to AFFF exposure can be hard to diagnose and treat. With early detection and treatment, however, most people with these forms of cancer can expect a full recovery. It is also essential to get proper legal advice if you wish to claim compensation for the health issues and injuries caused to you as a result of the exposure.