January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
The nearly half a million people exposed to Ground Zero toxins on 9/11 or during the 8 following months have a substantially higher risk of developing many respiratory illnesses and 68 different types of cancer, including cervical cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 14,480 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2021.
Barasch & McGarry represents nearly two dozen 9/11 first responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Historically, cervical cancer was among the most common causes of cancer death for American women.
Thankfully, improvements in diagnostic screenings and treatments have resulted in better outcomes.
Major risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, family history, a compromised immune system, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and family history – as well as Ground Zero exposure after 9/11.
By visiting the doctor for regular screening tests (the Pap test) and, if possible, accessing a vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, you can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting cervical cancer.
When found early, cervical cancer has become highly treatable and patients generally enjoy long survival and good quality of life.
If you have questions about cervical cancer, speak with your primary care provider or gynecologist.
Be sure to mention that you are a 9/11 first responder or survivor, and that you have a higher risk of the disease.
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer or any of the other cancers or respiratory diseases impacting the 9/11 community, we can help you access resources through the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Visit 911victims.com or call 212-385-8000 today.