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Barasch & McGarry Honors Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month

March 3, 2021 | Michael Barasch

Anyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins after 9/11 has a much higher risk for many respiratory diseases and 68 different types of cancer, including multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer, forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Healthy plasma cells help fight infections by producing antibodies that recognize and attack germs.

But with multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and block those healthy blood cells. Rather than producing helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can lead to complications.

A report from the American Cancer Society estimates that 34,920 new cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed in 2021.

Major risk factors for multiple myeloma include old age, male gender, family history, obesity, other plasma cell diseases, and exposure to Ground Zero toxins after 9/11.

The most common symptoms of multiple myeloma are bone pain – especially in the spine or chest – nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, mental fogginess or confusion, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, weakness or numbness in the legs, and excessive thirst.

Accessing treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program – which might include chemotherapy, radiation, medication, and bone marrow transplant – could dramatically improve your quality of health if started early.

Protect yourself by visiting a primary care provider regularly and reporting any problems that could indicate multiple myeloma.

If you are diagnosed with multiple myeloma or any of the other cancers or respiratory diseases impacting the 9/11 community, please contact us for resources on accessing free health care and compensation. 

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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