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Former Pease Airmen push for cancer screenings

Veterans say former National Guard members should be treated the same way as firefighters, who have a higher risk for cancer because of PFAS chemicals.

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — Former airmen who served at Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire want all current and former airmen to be screened for cancer.

67 former guard members have died from organ related cancers.

RELATED: Pease widows want federal health study on air force base now

Family members believe long term exposure to toxic chemicals and PFAS compounds in the drinking water are connected to the high number of cancer cases. 

PFAS is a class of industrial chemicals found in household items to firefighting foams used by DOD firefighters. 

RELATED: MEMA surveys fire departments for 'forever chemicals'

The foam is believed to have contaminated the drinking water supply at the base. 

Gary Enos worked as aircraft mechanic for 30 years at Pease. Early detection found prostate cancer and then bladder cancer. He wants his fellow veterans who may not know they are at risk to get screened.

"These people were exposed to these hazards, and they need to be screened (for) cancers," said Enos. "You could walk into your health care provider with a lot more information."

Colonel John Pogorek, the Commander of the 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease, tells NEWS CENTER Maine that officials are waiting for the Air Force to approve a study looking into the high number of cancers. He says if the study moves forward and a connection to cancer cases is found, the Wing will push for screenings for current and former airmen.

Click here for information on where service members and retirees can register and learn more about potential exposures and talk about their exposures with a physician. 

Click here to learn how to sign up with the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry.  

Find the New Hampshire National Guard on Facebook here.

To contact Doris Brock, widow of Ken Brock, a 35-year member of the N.H. Air National Guard who died of bladder and prostate cancer, click here.