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Rare Cancers


  • Rare cancers – those outside the more commonly known forms of cancer and that appear less frequently – are part of the of 69 different forms of cancer linked to 9/11 by doctors at the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). 
  • Consistent with all cancers, WTCHP enrollees are being diagnosed with rare cancers at a rate that exceeds the general population. 
  • Rare cancers require requisite levels of cancer care just as any other cancer, despite their lower rate of occurrence.
  • Barasch & McGarry represents thousands of survivors and responders diagnosed with cancer in their Victim Compensation Fund claims and fights for their full and fair compensation.

Rare Cancers Linked to 9/11 Toxins

The collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers and several adjacent buildings released an unknown number of contaminants and carcinogens into the air. Materials and compounds never intended to burn were incinerated and reduced to fumes, smoke, vapors, particles, and ash. Researchers who studied the toxins released into the air on 9/11 have identified more than 70 different deadly carcinogens, many of which survivors and responders breathed in, and that lingered for eight months during clean-up and removal efforts. 

As workers were encouraged to return to Lower Manhattan in the weeks and months after 9/11, most were unaware of the dangers that lingered. Those toxins have been linked to 69 different cancers among survivors and responders, including rare forms of cancer.

Rare Cancers Diagnosed in 9/11 Survivors, Responders

Rare cancers do not feel rare to the 9/11 survivors and responders who are diagnosed with them. Rare forms of cancer are every bit as real and serious, regardless of their type.

A rare cancer is defined as “a cancer that occurs in less than 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year in the United States” per the WTC Health Program. 

Rare cancers are showing heightened rates of occurrence among 9/11 survivors and responders, including a surprising number of men being diagnosed with breast cancer (more than 20 of whom are represented by Barasch & McGarry) and more than 280 survivors and responders diagnosed with malignant neuroendocrine, which are tumors of the nerve cells and hormones. This otherwise rare cancer ranks 15th in diagnosed cancers among WTCHP enrollees. 

While this list does not include every rare form of cancer, the following malignancies are classified as rare cancers and are acknowledged by the WTCHP.

  • Neuroendocrine malignancies
  • Malignant neoplasm of the male breast
  • Malignant neoplasm of the gallbladder/biliary tract
  • Malignant neoplasm of the small intestine
  • Malignant neoplasm of the thymus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the central nervous system
  • Malignant neoplasm of the adrenal gland
  • Malignant neoplasm of the testis
  • Malignant neoplasm of the penis
  • Gastrointestinal stromal malignancies

Because it can take months, years, or even decades for cancer to grow, it is important for 9/11 survivors and responders to be aware that a diagnosis years later can be a result of their exposure, and they have the right to seek full and fair compensation. 

Persons diagnosed with rare cancers should not be discouraged, but rather highly encouraged in seeking the medical and financial benefits available to them.

When I first started showing symptoms of 9/11 injuries, such as corrosive Gerd, bronchial spasm’s, sleep apnea, and unfortunately being diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, I was scared my career as a fireman would be ending. As well as scared of dying from esophageal cancer. Mike and his law firm had my back all the way. He took an economic burden from me and it’s a load off my mind today. The compassion and deep concerns I experienced by each and every one of your staff can not match my sincere appreciation.

Survivor, Retired Firefighter

Medical & Financial Benefits for Patients with Rare Cancers

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 was approved legislation that established an initial list of conditions covered by the two 9/11 benefit programs the act created. These programs are The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which provides free nationwide medical care, and the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) which disburses monetary compensation to those with conditions the WTC Health Program certifies. To date 69 cancers including rare forms of cancer are part of the list of conditions, some of which have been added years later when medical evidence became undeniable. 

In 2019, after dozens of trips down to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress, our firm and many other 9/11 advocates aided in the full funding and permanent extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act essentially ensures funds are available to compensate all who are currently sick or get sick in the future.

Actual Client VCF Awards

View More Results

$3,700,651for a disabled NYC police officer due to leukemia

$3,254,242for wrongful death of a firefighter due to 9/11-related asthma/RADS

$2,811,150for a disabled stock broker due to multiple myeloma

$1,934,316for a disabled teacher due to esophageal cancer

$1,422,694for wrongful death of a downtown office worker due to pulmonary fibrosis

$1,251,411for wrongful death of a paralegal working in a downtown law firm due to breast cancer

$1,345,427for a NYC Police Officer with breast cancer

$1,188,741for a disabled EMT with colon cancer

$1,011,957for the wrongful death of a sound engineer due to bladder cancer

Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

Deadlines to register VCF claims are approaching. If you or anyone you know had cancer or lost a family member as a result on 9/11, reach out to us to register for compensation quickly.

If you were exposed to the toxic air on 9/11 or in the eight months that followed but have not had your medical condition linked to 9/11, you also still have time to apply for significant compensation. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that your cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a victim is made aware their condition was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

For those who died from their WTC-linked condition, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

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 to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Please contact us for a free consultation.

Contact Us

It’s important to act quickly. Find out if you’re eligible to receive compensation from the $10 billion set aside for 9/11 victims. Call us at 212-385-8000 or contact us online today.

Rare Cancers

Additional Topics

  • 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)

    Learn about the 9/11 VCF; permanently funded with over $10 billion to compensate anyone with 9/11-linked illnesses and 69 different cancers.

    Read More
  • World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)

    Find out about the WTCHP which provides free medical monitoring, testing, treatment, and prescription drugs for a range of 9/11-linked conditions.

    Read More
  • 9/11 VCF Results & Awards

    Barasch & McGarry has recovered more money from the Victim's Compensation Fund than any other law firm. See example awards & results.

    Read More
  • Why Barasch & McGarry

    With over 20,000 clients under representation and $3 Billion+ recovered from the Victim Compensation Fund, find out why Barasch & McGarry are truly "Lawyers for the 9/11 Community".

    Read More

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