Local fire department using new approach to reduce risk of cancer

As fire departments change how they operate to accommodate an alarming risk of cancer among firefighters, one local department is making adapting in a unique area: the kitchen.

The Shrewsbury Fire Department has decided to change up the menu, substituting foods for better options.

The move was initially made to help fight obesity and heart problems. Now, the purpose has grown.

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"We've come to learn that nutrition is also a huge part of cancer prevention," Shrewsbury Fire Chief Jim Vuona said. "Trying to not eat foods that have preservatives."

Now, they're loaded with foods that are green, organic and heart healthy.

"It's pretty unique," nutritionist Dana Harrison said.

Harrison admits firefighters were initially skeptical, but the growing focus on fighting cancer has made many departments look at the foods they eat.

"Fire departments are valuing health and wellness," Harrison said. "I think what we're seeing is that nutrition has such a large impact as a modifiable factor."

The move is already paying off, according to Vuona.

"The department is physically in better shape than it's ever been," Vuona said.

So many departments have been hit hard by cancer, and now, many are doing everything they can to make sure they keep their firefighters safe.