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Skin Cancers


  • Skin cancer, in its melanoma and non-melanoma forms, is among the 69 different types of cancer linked to 9/11 by doctors at the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). 
  • Skin cancer is the leading form of cancer among WTCHP enrollees – affecting more than 9,200 survivors and responders diagnosed with either melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer. 
  • 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.

Skin Cancer 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 skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Is the Leading Form of Cancer Among 9/11 Responders, 2nd Among Survivors

As cancers related to 9/11 among members increased by more than 1,000 percent – from 1,870 confirmed cases in 2013 to 20,612 cases in 2020 – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, in 2020 alone, nearly 31 percent of cases were for skin cancer. 

Skin cancer gets classified as either nonmelanoma, which includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma. 

  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It occurs when new basal cells that create new skin and replace old skin are compromised by cancer. Basal cells form the upper-most layer of skin, making exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, or contact with hazardous chemicals and toxins, as leading risk factors. 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma also is a common form of skin cancer affecting squamous cells that comprise the outer and middle layers of the skin. While the same risk factors apply, squamous cell carcinoma can occur in areas that are not exposed to UV light including the mouth, soles of the feet, and genital areas. 
  • Melanoma develops in melanocytes, which are in the top layer of skin cells that give skin its natural color (pigment). Melanoma is considered a more aggressive form of skin cancer and can occur in either UV-exposed or protected skin, as well as the eyes.

Visible symptoms of skin cancer

Skin cancer is unique in that symptoms are often visible as cancer begins affecting the skin. Noticeable symptoms for nonmelanoma and melanoma forms of skin cancer include: 


  • A whitish or pink bump that feels wax-like
  • A flesh-colored or brown lesion that looks like a scar
  • Scabs or bleeds, and return upon healing
  • A red nodule that is firm to the touch
  • A flatter legion that is scaly or scab-like


  • Brown spots containing dark specks 
  • Moles that change color, size, feel, or that bleed
  • Legions that are irregular in shape
  • Appears red, pink, white, blue, or black in color 
  • Causes pain, itching, or burning 
  • Appears in less-visible locations (lining of mouth, nose, private areas, palms, soles of feet and fingertips/toes)

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.

Your legal team has been wonderful and the commitment you have made to frontline workers and survivors is the most unselfish and generous act of kindness I have ever experienced. You have lifted a tremendous burden of financial worries from our shoulders allowing us to concentrate solely on fighting this terrible disease. Thank you for what you have done for me and my family.


Medical & Financial Benefits for Skin Cancer Patients

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 melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers 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.

Skin 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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