CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – With firefighters at least three times more likely to develop cancer and 14% more likely to die from cancer than the rest of the general population, the Chesapeake Fire Department hopes a new screening tool can stamp it out at its earliest stages.

While they’re used to saving others, they hope the new screening will help them save themselves.

Chesapeake firefighters and rescue personnel underwent screening for more than 50 types of cancer Wednesday, as the department sponsored the Galleri multi-cancer early detection test for Chesapeake firefighters at the Public Safety Center. The test can detect cancer at its earliest stages, and was available for firefighters aged 22 and up.

“This is a game-changer,” said Chesapeake Fire Department Capt. Christopher Moore. “We’re just exposed to a lot of carcinogens. Our job has now recently been classified as a Level 1 for carcinogens, which means (there) is a very, extremely high-risk of developing cancer.”

It is the leading cause of death among firefighters.

The test was done through a blood draw, and it works by detecting fragments of DNA in the blood that have been “shed” by cancer cells.

If a cancer signal is detected in the blood, the test can determine where in the body that signal is coming from with high accuracy.

“Chesapeake is on the forefront with this,” Moore said. “And we are one of the only ones on the East Coast to do this so far.”