Ann Occup Environ Med.  2020 ;32(1):e7. 10.35371/aoem.2020.32.e7.

Descriptive analysis of prevalence and medical expenses of cancer, cardio-cerebrovascular disease, psychiatric disease, and musculoskeletal disease in Korean firefighters

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hanyang University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Center of Biomedical Data Science, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.
  • 4Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine and Institute of Occupational Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.
  • 6Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Guri, Korea.


Firefighters are exposed to many dangerous working conditions. Many studies have identified the risk of disease for firefighters, but only a few studies have addressed the medical expenses of firefighters, which represents a concrete scale of disease. Our purpose in this study was to determine the medical expenditures of firefighters to assess the overall scale of disease in Korea. We focused on cancer, mental disorders, cardio-cerebrovascular disease, and musculoskeletal disease, the prevalence of which was expected to be high in firefighters.
This study utilized National Health Insurance Service data. We targeted firefighters, police officers, and government officials. We classified disease based on the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems codes. We compared prevalence by the age-standardized prevalence rate, considering standard distribution of the population. Medical expenditure of disease was defined as outpatient fees, hospitalization fees, and drug costs. Total medical expenditures were calculated by the sum of those 3 categories.
The age-standardized prevalence of cancer, mental disorders, and cardiovascular disease in firefighters was slightly higher than or similar to that of government officials and police officers (no significant difference). However, medical expenditures for stomach cancer, mental disorders, and most cardio-cerebrovascular diseases were higher in firefighters than in others. In particular, firefighters spent 12 times more money for ischemic heart disease than did government officials. Of musculoskeletal diseases, lumbar disc disorder had the highest expenditures among firefighters.
The age-standardized prevalence of most of diseases of firefighters was not as high as in the other groups, but the medical expenses of firefighters were much higher than those of government officials and police officers.


Firefighter; Total medical expenditure; NHIS; Health insurance system; Prevalence

MeSH Terms

Cardiovascular Diseases
Drug Costs
Fees and Charges
Health Expenditures
International Classification of Diseases
Mental Disorders
Musculoskeletal Diseases*
Myocardial Ischemia
National Health Programs
Occupational Groups
Stomach Neoplasms
Full Text Links
  • AOEM
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2024 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: