July is Sarcoma Awareness Month.
The half a million first responders and people working, living, and studying in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11 have a dramatically higher risk of developing respiratory illnesses and 68 different types of cancer, including sarcoma.
Barasch & McGarry represents more than 70 members of the 9/11 community who have been diagnosed with sarcoma.
Sarcoma Awareness Month helps inform the public about this relatively rare illness, described by the Sarcoma Foundation of America as the “forgotten cancer.”
In 2022, about 13,190 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed (7,590 in males and 5,600 in females), according to the American Cancer Society.
The significant risk factors for developing soft tissue sarcoma are radiation used to treat other cancers, family cancer syndromes such as neurofibromatosis and Gardner syndrome, a damaged lymph system, and exposure to chemicals such as Ground Zero toxins.
Early detection of sarcoma substantially improves the likelihood of survival.
People with a high risk of sarcoma – based on family history, radiation during a medical procedure, or toxic exposure – should share this information with their primary health care provider and stay alert to the symptoms.
Common symptoms include finding a new or growing lump or growth on your body, abdominal pain that does not improve, and blood in stool or vomit.
Thankfully, there are resources available for people with 9/11-related illnesses.
With the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), 9/11 victims have access to free nationwide health care.
Through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), first responders, survivors, and their families are entitled to awards for pain and suffering, loss of income, and wrongful death.
But there are still tens of thousands of first responders and survivors who have not yet registered with the VCF.
We have a responsibility to inform them about their right to access health care and compensation.
If you were in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street on 9/11 or during the eight following months, you are eligible to register with the 9/11 VCF – even if you are currently healthy.
If you were below Houston Street or in parts of western Brooklyn and are diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness, you are eligible to enroll in the WTC Health Program.
Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents more than 30,000 members of the 9/11 community.
Visit www.911victims.com or call 212-385-8000 today.