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Nearly 20 Years Later, Cancer Rates Higher in 9/11 First Responders

Less than two years before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks, scientists and healthcare providers still have many lingering questions about the effects on those who reported to the scene and participated in the months-long recovery effort. Higher cancer rates have been reported among the first responders who served at Ground Zero.

Various inherited, behavioral and environmental factors might increase someone’s likelihood of contracting cancer, but a study examining 29,000 World Trade Center responders showed elevations in general cancer rates and particularly high levels of:

  • Thyroid cancer — The study, conducted by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital, found that the risk of thyroid cancer among the survey group is more than twice that of people within the general population.
  • Leukemia — The researchers found that the risk of developing this form of blood tissue cancer among the individuals whose medical histories were examined was 41 percent higher than the general population. This could be partly attributable to benzene from the jet fuel that exploded when the planes struck the towers.
  • Prostate cancer — Urological and renal cancers have been associated with 9/11 exposure. The likelihood of experiencing prostate cancer was heightened by 25 percent.

Even one day of work on the pile at the Ground Zero site has been associated with a higher cancer risk for responding firefighters than for FDNY colleagues who never reported to the scene. Whether you served as first responder or worked, lived or went to school in the designated exposure zone, the World Trade Center Health Program is in place to provide treatment and medical monitoring. If you have contracted cancer or another type of physical problem that has been connected with breathing hazardous substances in Lower Manhattan, relief is available through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Barasch & McGarry advocates on behalf of people stricken with 9/11-related illnesses and the families of those who have died because of their proximity to the Ground Zero site. Please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced New York City lawyers.

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  • "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.
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