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World Trade Center Responders Have Higher Prostate Cancer Rates

Dec 1, 2016
WTC Responders Have Higher Rates of Prostate Cancer

An increased incidence of prostate cancer was reported in three groups of World Trade Center (WTC) respondents.

These men were exposed to toxins on the September 11, 2001, the day the Twin Towers fell, and in the months that followed when they were involved in the recovery operations. Many of the cancer victims are police, fire fighters, and EMTs who were first responders on September 11. Some were volunteers in the weeks and months following the attacks and some were employed at the World Trade Center or were area residents.

The prostate cancer findings were reported online in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The authors say they are not "certain whether this increase is because of WTC-related exposures or enhanced surveillance," but they note, "WTC respondents continue to have a higher prostate cancer rate compared with New York State as a whole." The age-specific ratios were highest for ages 30-49 (2.28; 95% CI: 1.51-3.43), 70-74 (2.05; 95% CI: 1.03-4.10), and 80-84 years (5.65; 95% CI: 1.41-22.58).

Cancers Continue to Emerge in 9/11 Responders and Survivors

In August 2016, health officials reported that more than 5,400 September 11 first responders and others who lived, worked, or attended school near Ground Zero have developed 9/11-linked cancers. The cancer tally tripled in two and a half years, up from 1,822 cancer cases in January 2014. National law firm Parker Waichman notes that in addition to prostate and other cancers, 9/11 survivors have suffered a range of other illnesses, including lung and gastrointestinal diseases.

As of June 30, 2016, 5,441 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program had been diagnosed with 6,378 separate cancers, the New York Post reported. Officials say some of these individuals have more one type of cancer. Researchers say the 9/11 community is experiencing five type of cancer-prostate, thyroid, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma-at a significantly higher rate than expected in the general population. Dr. Michael Crane, medical director of the WTC Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, called this "an alarming increase" in cancers. In August, Crane told the Post that for the last year and a half 10 to 15 new people had been certified for cancer every week. The federal government list now contains more than 50 types of cancer that are believed to be related to the toxic smoke, dust, and debris present on and after 9/11.

The dust and debris that hovered over lower Manhattan contained a toxic mix of compounds, including asbestos; pulverized cement; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); benzene; dioxin; glass fibers; gypsum; jet fuel; heavy metals (including lead); irritants; toxins; and carcinogens. Many first responders, rescue and recovery workers, and area residents exposed to these toxins have been diagnosed with various illnesses, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety disorder associated with the trauma of exposure to the attacks.

Zadroga Act Health Program Extended until 2090

Zadroga Act Health Program Extended until 2090

The WTC Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund were set up under the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, passed in 2010. The WTC Health Program monitors more than 48,000 police officers, construction workers, volunteer firefighters, utility workers and others who worked or volunteered at Ground Zero. The Fire Department of New York has its own 9/11 health program, caring for some 16,000 members.

The 2015 Zadroga reauthorization extended the World Trade Center Health Program through 2090. The Victim Compensation Fund would have expired in October 2016, but has been extended five more years to provide benefits to first responders too sick to work. To be eligible to file a claim with the fund, individuals must register with the VCF by the applicable deadline. The registration deadline varies, depending on the individual claimant's circumstances, including the date of the cancer diagnosis.

The extension of the WTC Health Program was crucial for many of those who have become ill. Many health problems, in particular cancers, do not emerge until years after exposure. For some people, health problems that began on or soon after 9/11 became worse over time. An individual's 9/11 health problems can have an impact on other conditions and on the individual's overall health. The health program provides monitoring and testing that can help people catch problems early.

Legal Help for Those Suffering 9/11-Related Illnesses

The attorneys at Parker Waichman have worked with and for 9/11 victims through the years since the attacks. If you or someone you know suffers cancer or other illness linked to 9/11 toxic exposures, please contact Parker Waichman LLP for an evaluation of your situation. To reach the firm, fill out the online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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