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Cancer Rates Increasing Among Ground Zero First Responders

Sep 9, 2013

More and more first responders who worked at Ground Zero are being diagnosed with cancer.

There have now been more than 1,140 cases of cancer diagnosed among people who responded to the Ground Zero site following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, according to a recent New York Daily News report.

As the Twin Towers crumbled and then the debris burned for days and weeks following the attacks, there was a cloud of toxic air at the site; many who responded were not properly fitted to prevent breathing in and otherwise exposing themselves to those conditions. In the years since the terrorist attack, many who responded to the Ground Zero site have begun to suffer health setbacks, including breathing and skin conditions that have required extra medical attention, based on our reports.

The Daily News also reported that, according to the Mount Sinai Medical Center study, there is a 15% higher cancer rate among these responders than among people not exposed to those toxins.

In August alone of this year, there were more than 1,140 cancers identified among those known as First Responders, according to the New York Daily News report. The most-often reported cancer is nonmelanoma skin cancer, with 156 cases confirmed so far. Skin melanoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma each have had more than 110 confirmed cases. Thyroid cancer and leukemia are in the top five of all the cancers reported among Ground Zero responders and others.

Data for the Daily News report is also from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and includes cases of cancer among people who also lived and worked in the Ground Zero and World Trade Center area following the attack.

Many experts and medical professionals believe the rate of cancer likely will only increase for these affected people. Dr. Jim Melius, a chairman of the steering committee for the WTC Responder Medical Program and also a 9/11 Health Watch board member told the New York Daily News that he believes there are many other unreported cases that have yet to be identified.

One oncology nurse at the North Shore Hospital WTC Clinic told the Daily News that she has only been at her job for a few months and has already seen more than 12 new cancer cases diagnosed. On top of that, two dozen more people are awaiting results that may add them to the group.

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