LFR Lt. shares cancer journey to encourage fellow firefighters t - FOX34 Lubbock

LFR Lt. shares cancer journey to encourage fellow firefighters to get checked

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Cancer has taken over as the number one killer of firefighters. Lieutenant Brian Gross with Lubbock Fire Rescue was diagnosed early last year with clear cell renal cell carcinoma, a cancer of the kidney. 

"7:30 at night here at the fire station I get a phone call. And it's a phone call that I don't want another firemen to ever get," he said.

Now, he's an advocate in encouraging his fellow firefighters to "know where they stand" with their health. 

"When you have that call that says 'hey, you got cancer'... it will change your life," Lt. Gross said. 

After years of battling fires, he's spent 16 months battling the disease hoping to influence other to get themselves checked before it's too late. 

"If I can prevent one firemen, or one person anywhere, then not only my career -- my life as a protector of my community is well served," he said. 

Lt. Gross said he showed no signs or symptoms. After his diagnosis, the city, Lubbock Fire Rescue and the Lubbock Professional Firefighters Association partnered to implement the Life Scan Wellness Program. The yearly exam, for firefighters and police officers, provides early detection testing for major diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer. 

It's a life-saving initiative Lt. Gross is grateful for. 

"They became the rescuer. They became the people that saved lives -- and that life was mine," he said. 

Now, Lt. Gross is back on the front lines fighting fires. 

"Firefighters are often called," he said. "And there was no mistake that this was my calling."

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