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Cancer Diagnoses Proliferating Among 9/11 Responders

Aug 12, 2014

More than 2,500 rescuers and responders who worked at Ground Zero have been diagnosed with cancer, and many are now seeking compensation for their illnesses.

In the latest tally from the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, 1,655 people have been diagnosed with cancer of the 37,000 police, construction workers, sanitation workers, city employees and volunteers monitored under the program, The New York Post reports. When firefighters and EMTs are added, the total rises to 2,518. The FDNY has its own WTC health program and said 863 of its members have cancers eligible for 9/11-related treatment.

One such firefighter, a retired FDNY captain who worked at Ground Zero in the week following 9/11 and for months altogether, recently received a $1.5 million award from the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. He has lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer. His case was expedited because of his grim prognosis, according to the Post. “I knew that day that a lot of us would get sick,” he said. He retired in 2008 because of lung damage. His cancer diagnosis came last year.

As of June 30, the VCF had received 1,145 claims listing cancer and many claims also list other ailments, the Post reports. Thus far, 115 cancer claimants have been awarded a total $50.5 million, in sums from $400,000 to $4.1 million. WTC epidemiologists say studies show that 9/11 workers have gotten certain cancers at a significantly higher rate than expected in the normal population, in particular prostate, thyroid, leukemia and multiple myeloma.

Under the Zadroga Act, passed in 2010 to extend the VCF for five years, many cancer sufferers or their next of kin are expected to file claims by the October 12 deadline.

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