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Melanoma Monday Recognizes Major Threat to 9/11 Community

May 3, 2021 | Michael Barasch

Today is Melanoma Monday.

9/11 first responders and citizens who were exposed to Ground Zero toxins in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 or during the 8 following months are at a dramatically higher risk of developing 68 different types of cancer, including the deadliest form of skin cancer and most common cancer in the 9/11 community, melanoma.

Barasch & McGarry represents nearly 1,000 members of the 9/11 community who have been diagnosed with melanoma.

Melanoma Monday, the first Monday in May, raises awareness about melanoma and other skin cancers, and encourages early detection through self-exams.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 106,110 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2021, about 62,260 in men and 43,850 in women.

The key risk factors for melanoma include ultraviolet (UV) light exposure (from sunlight, tanning beds, and sun lamps), moles on the skin, light skin and freckles, family history, a personal history of melanoma or other skin cancers, a weakened immune system, and age.

To prevent melanoma, avoid the sun during the middle of the day, use sunscreen year-round, wear protective clothing, and avoid tanning lamps and beds.

Early detection of melanoma can substantially improve the likelihood of survival.

If you notice any changes to an existing mole on your skin or the development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin, contact your primary health care provider immediately.

All 9/11 first responders and citizens should have an annual skin exam, because skin cancers including melanoma are the most common cancers among the 9/11 community.

If you are diagnosed with melanoma or any other 9/11-related cancers or respiratory illnesses, we can help you access resources through the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. 

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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