Prostate Cancer Added to Zadroga 9/11 Fund’s Covered Illnesses
New evidence finds responders at increased risk for prostate cancer
The Obama administration announced on July 2 that prostate cancer is being added to the list of cancers covered under the Zadroga 9/11 Fund. In May, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association petitioned the World Trade Center Health Program Administrator to add prostate cancer to the list, citing new evidence of significantly increased rates of prostate cancer in responders. Thanks to the petition’s success, sufferers who were exposed to toxic WTC dust on or in the year after 9/11 are now eligible for free medical care under the World Trade Center Health Program.
Link between WTC exposure and prostate cancer
Prostate cancer — malignant neoplasm of the prostate — was not originally included in the list of the 68 cancers covered by the Zadroga Act, even though elevated levels of prostate cancer were found by earlier New York City Fire Department and the WTC Health Registry studies. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee argued that these studies were skewed by “surveillance bias,” that is, since 9/11 responders were tested more frequently than the general population, the results were based on increased diagnoses, not increased disease.
In a study published in April 2013, epidemiologists reviewed data collected by Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program from 20,984 responders between 2001 and 2008. Prostate cancer rates were 17 percent higher for responders than for people who were not exposed to Ground Zero toxins. Thyroid and blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma were 15 percent greater than the norm. The study’s authors were particularly alarmed to find these slow-developing cancers appearing so soon after exposure.
Citing the three studies’ results, the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s May 2, 2013 Petition 002 requested that Dr. John Howard, World Trade Center Health Program Administrator, add prostate cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions. The rule change was published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2013, with a 30-day comment period ending on August 2. Thus, lower Manhattan workers and WTC responders were able to start receiving medical benefits for prostate cancer at the end of August, 2013, at an estimated annual cost to the World Trade Center Health Program of $7 million.
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is critically important to register with the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund immediately to protect your right to compensation. The deadline for responders whose prostate cancer was diagnosed prior to October 21, 2013 is fast approaching. You only have until October 21, 2015. Responders who became ill after October 21, 2013 must register two years from the date of their diagnosis, but no later than October 3, 2016.
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson fights for compensation for 9/11 responders
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson actively supported the addition of prostate cancer to the list of compensable 9/11 illnesses. If you or someone you love is suffering from prostate cancer following exposure to WTC toxins, we can help you start the process of applying for Zadroga Act benefits and recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or by phone at 888.351.9421 to schedule a free consultation.