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This Week is National Women’s Health Week: Protect Yourself

May 11, 2021 | Michael Barasch

This week marks National Women’s Health Week, when we shine a spotlight on key issues in women’s health that have too often been ignored.

In honoring National Women’s Health Week, we recognize the hundreds of thousands of women in the 9/11 community who are uniquely at risk of developing 68 different types of cancer and many respiratory diseases as a result of their exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

These women include first responders, students and teachers, office workers, and community residents – anyone who was in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 or the eight months following the attacks.

A checklist recently published by the federal government’s Office on Women’s Health provides several general recommendations for women, including:

  • Visit a health care provider for a well-woman visit (checkup), preventive screenings, and vaccines;
  • Get active;
  • Eat healthy;
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress; and
  • Practice safe behaviors, such as quitting smoking, not texting while driving, and taking steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.

For women who were 9/11 first responders or survivors, we also urge you to get an annual skin exam by a dermatologist, because skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the 9/11 community.

In addition, register with the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, even if you are currently healthy. By registering now, you will have access to health care and compensation should you  develop cancer or respiratory disease in the future.

Finally, speak with your primary care provider about your exposure to Ground Zero toxins, to make certain that you are receiving all of the diagnostic tests and screenings you need.

If you are diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers or respiratory diseases impacting the 9/11 community, please contact us for resources on accessing free health care and compensation. 

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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