March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Nearly half a million first responders and survivors who were exposed to Ground Zero toxins on and after 9/11 have a higher risk of developing respiratory illnesses and 69 different types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.
Barasch & McGarry represents about 1,000 9/11 first responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Most colorectal cancers start as a growth, called a polyp, on the inner lining of the colon or rectum which could eventually become cancerous.
The symptoms of colorectal cancer include a persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, feeling that your bowel does not empty completely, weakness or fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Other major risk factors for colorectal cancer are old age, a personal history of colon cancer or polyps, inflammatory intestinal conditions, family history, smoking, alcohol consumption, and a low-fiber, high-fat diet.
A report from the American Cancer Society estimates that 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2023.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular screenings for colorectal cancer for anyone between 50 and 75 years-of-age, with early screenings advised for anyone with serious risk factors such as exposure to Ground Zero toxins.
Remember that if you are diagnosed with 9/11-related colorectal 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 colorectal 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. Don’t let a delayed diagnosis become a death sentence.
Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community.
Visit 911victims.com or call 212-385-8000 today.