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A wildland firefighter takes a break amid thick smoke near the site of a burn operation on the south end of the Lolo Peak fire on Aug. 28.

If Senate Bill 160, also known as the Firefighter Protection Act, becomes law, Montana firefighters could be presumed to have a valid claim of 12 occupational diseases if they served a certain number of years:

Bladder cancer: 12 years

Brain cancer: 10 years

Breast cancer: 5 years, “if the diagnosis occurs before the firefighter is 40 years old and is not known to be associated with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer”

Myocardial infarction (heart attack): 10 years

Colorectal cancer: 10 years

Esophageal cancer: 10 years

Kidney cancer: 15 years

Leukemia: 5 years

Mesothelioma or asbestosis: 10 years

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Multiple myeloma: 15 years

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: 15 years

Lung cancer: 4 years

In all cases, the disease must manifest itself within 10 years of the end of a firefighter's career.

Prior to an amendment from the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs committee, the bill also had included coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Firefighters claiming a presumptive occupational disease may not have a history of tobacco use within the last 10 years under McConnell's bill, or even a roommate who did. A medical exam within 90 days of their hiring must also show that they do not have a family history of the disease for which they are filing a claim.

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