January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.
The half a million first responders and survivors who were exposed to Ground Zero toxins after 9/11 all have a dramatically higher risk of 68 different types of cancer, including thyroid cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 43,800 new cases of thyroid cancer (11,860 in men and 31,940 in women) will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022.
Barasch & McGarry represents hundreds of 9/11 first responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, including many young adults who never expected to hear the word “cancer” at this stage of their lives.
Unlike many other cancers, thyroid cancer often impacts younger adults. Indeed, 2 in 3 people diagnosed with thyroid cancer are under the age of 55.
The risk factors for thyroid cancer include exposure to radiation, a diet low in iodine (not a major risk for most Americans), family history, and genetics – as well as Ground Zero exposure after 9/11.
Generally, individuals diagnosed with thyroid cancer have a good prognosis, with a five-year survival rate of 98% for most forms of the cancer that are found early and have not spread past the gland.
Early detection works! During a physical exam, your doctor will examine your neck to feel for physical changes in your thyroid, such as thyroid nodules, and might ask about your risk factors, such as past exposure to radiation and a family history of thyroid tumors.
If you were in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11, you should mention to your primary care provider that exposure to Ground Zero toxins increases your risk of thyroid cancer.
If you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer or any of the other cancers or respiratory illnesses 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.