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Barasch & McGarry Recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 9, 2023 | Michael Barasch

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Studies show that both women and men who were first responders or who were working, living, or studying in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11 have a higher risk of developing many respiratory illnesses and 69 different types of cancer from exposure to Ground Zero toxins, including breast cancer.

Barasch & McGarry represents nearly 2,300 members of the 9/11 community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

In the general population, about 1 in 8 women and 1 in 833 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society.

But among 9/11 first responders and survivors, the rates of breast cancer are dramatically higher.

In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women and 2,800 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

The major risk factors for breast cancer are family history, genetic predisposition, smoking, drinking alcohol, a prior history of breast cancer, and exposure to toxic chemicals such as Ground Zero toxins. 

Symptoms include a new lump in the breast or underarm, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area, nipple discharge other than breast milk, any change in the size or the shape of the breast, or pain in any area of the breast.

Remember that if you are diagnosed with 9/11-related breast cancer, your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

If you were there in Lower Manhattan, the government presumes your cancer was the result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or any other 9/11-related cancers or respiratory illnesses, Barasch & McGarry can help you access resources through the free World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

The health program provides comprehensive medical care to 9/11 victims for their 9/11-related illnesses.

The victim fund offers tax-free awards for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.

For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone consists of all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, you should know your health status.

Protect yourself and your family. And early diagnosis could save your life.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community.

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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