Search Site
Cancer and PTSD Plague 9/11 Rescue Workers

Writing for Next Avenue, author and caregiving expert Sherri Snelling brings up a frustrating irony related to 9/11 rescue workers: although they are experiencing a higher-than-normal rate of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder due to their work at Ground Zero, many do not associate their illnesses with their rescue and recovery work on “the pile.” Because of the passage of time, many rescue and recovery workers simply attribute their illnesses to the normal aging process or intervening causes. This can prevent 9/11 responders from getting the care they need and the benefits they deserve.

Ms. Snelling quotes Dr. Michael Crane, medical director of the World Trade Center Health Program clinic at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, as saying, “The average age of the first responders in 2001 was 38. Today, they are 53 and at an age where they have a higher risk for diseases like cancer.” It would be entirely natural for rescue workers who may have experienced upper respiratory symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease years ago to miss the connection between 9/11 and their cancer, at least initially.

Yet cancer among 9/11 responders is on the march: in a two-month period, Dr. Crane saw about 30 new cases of cancer, and his clinic is only “one of seven Clinical Centers of Excellence treating World Trade Center (WTC) rescuers and survivors.” As Ms. Snelling points out, researchers estimate there is “a 15 percent higher incidence of cancer among the [Ground Zero rescue and recovery] workers than in the general population.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is also a huge problem among 9/11 responders. As Dr. Crane explains, “Being at Ground Zero…was not only a physical risk for the health of these rescuers, but it was a terrifying place to be. The dust was chokingly thick — but also having to deal with the human remains debris had real impact on their emotional and psychological well-being. It was literally hell on earth.” PTSD involves physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms, but as Ms. Snelling’s article asserts, it can also trigger debilitating physical illnesses: a study of 36,000 registry enrollees who reported PTSD…showed a 30 percent higher tendency to develop diabetes six to eight years later than those without PTSD.” Yet, returning to our earlier point, would a 53-year-old responder attribute adult onset diabetes to 9/11, especially if his PTSD has gone undiagnosed?

As dedicated advocates for the rights of 9/11 responders, we at Barasch & McGarry want to see every eligible individual get the health screenings they are entitled to. Understanding the full range of health effects is critical if we are going to reach every 9/11 survivor who is suffering.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxicity following 9/11, you may be eligible for health screenings, treatment and other benefits. Contact the experienced attorneys at Barasch & McGarry who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call 888-351-9421 or contact our office online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
Our Attorneys
  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
  • Barasch & McGarry Personal Injury Websites

  • Subscribe to our Newsletter

  • Contact Us

    Fill out the form below with any questions or info on how to get your free consultation

    Quick Contact Form