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Durham Fire Chief completes final round of radiation therapy

Durham Fire Department Chief Corey Landry completed his final radiation therapy session this past Wednesday, Oct. 12 after beating stage four lymphoma, which was diagnosed in April 2016.

“It’s just procedural [radiation] now, it seems like to me,” Landry said.

Landry has now been cancer free since September. He said he underwent chemotherapy at the Seacoast Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, spending 10 hours every three weeks undergoing radiation. 

“I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” he was quoted in an article published by Foster’s Daily Democrat in September. “It just beats you up so bad. It beats the hell out of you.”

Landry said he felt pain around his ribcage last fall 2015, which turned out to be two broken ribs. Further x-rays conducted in April 2016 showed a fluid build-up in his lungs and a mass that was responsible for the breaks.

According to the Foster’s Daily Democrat article, his type of lymphoma typically does not return, but if it does, chemotherapy won’t be effective against it. Doctors say the chance of a recurrence is about 20 percent. Landry said that he’s not worrying about the cancer coming back. 

“There’s no doubt in my mind that [the cancer was] fire service related. It was fire service exposure; there’s no cancer in my family,” Landry said.

Landry said that the fire retardant spray on furniture and clothing causes toxic inhalants to be released when flames are present. 

According to Landry, firefighting has changed dramatically since he began 29 years ago. 

“Back when I got into the fire service, we weren’t so much into masks or the cleaning down [decontamination of gear],” Landry said.

“We have 60 some odd percent chance greater than any person not in the fire service of getting [cancer],” Landry said in regard to firefighters being exposed to more toxic inhalants than the average civilian.

“People don’t realize what we [firefighters] give up in life overall to do this job,” Landry said.

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