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9/11 Injuries

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

February 29, 2020 | Michael Barasch

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 [ln::phone] or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced New York City lawyers.

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