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9/11 Injuries

Study Shows 9/11 Firefighters at Greater Risk of Thyroid and Prostate Cancer

January 30, 2017 | Michael Barasch

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A recent study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine finds that firefighters who participated in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terror attacks have an elevated risk of prostate and thyroid cancer compared to other firefighters in other large cities. But, surprisingly, the study found those two are the only cancers where WTC-exposed firefighters have an increased risk.

The study, cited at, used data from state cancer registries from September 11, 2001, through the end of 2009, and examined cancer diagnoses for 11,457 WTC-exposed firefighters and 8,220 firefighters in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia, who were not exposed to the toxic cloud at Ground Zero. Results showed there was “no difference in the risk of cancer overall between the two firefighter groups, although the risk of thyroid cancer and prostate cancers was elevated among WTC-exposed firefighters.”

The increased risk was substantial. Researchers found “firefighters who worked at the WTC site were more than three times more likely to get thyroid cancer during that period than those in the other group. The study also found that between 2005 and 2009, prostate cancer diagnoses were about 38 percent higher for the WTC-exposed firefighters.”

We should note that a study of cancer must take into account the latency period of the disease. This study only considers cancer diagnoses within about seven years of exposure. Yet, the results showed a greater difference in risk between the two groups of firefighters in records from 2005 to 2009. This indicates that with the passage of time, WTC-exposed firefighters have an increasingly greater risk of contracting prostate or thyroid cancer.

If you or a loved one has developed cancer you believe is linked to 9/11 exposure, contact the experienced attorneys who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson at [ln::phone] or contact our office online.

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