Less than three weeks before the deadline for registering under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health officially added prostate cancer to the list of diseases eligible for compensation. The move also means those afflicted with 9/11-related prostate cancer are eligible for free care under the World Trade Center Health Program.
More than 50 other forms of cancer were added to the list of eligible conditions in 2012, but controversy continued over several types that were omitted, including prostate and pancreatic cancer. At the time, officials believed there was not enough evidence to support a connection between incidents of those cancers and exposure to the 9/11 sites.
But several reports have since suggested an increased rate of prostate cancer among 9/11 responders, including a study released in April 2013 indicating the rate of prostate cancer among responders was 21 percent higher than among the general population. That study was cited by the New York City police officers union in a petition filed with the administrator of the WTC Health Program in May 2013 seeking to have prostate cancer added to the covered illnesses.
Another study released in December 2012 reported that among a sample of nearly 10,000 New York City firefighters who responded to the September 11 attacks, the rate of prostate cancer was about 40 percent higher than would normally be expected.
There are now more than 60 types of cancer covered by the WTC Health Program. Included among them are:
- Head and neck cancers
- Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers
- Soft-tissue cancers
- Breast cancer
- Cancers of the digestive system
- Cancers of the respiratory system
- Thyroid cancer
- Cancers of the blood and lymph tissues