The massive dust cloud caused by the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, has had a lingering physical effect on the tens of thousands of 9/11 victims and people who were in the NYC Exposure Zone following the terrorist attacks. That cloud loomed over downtown and contained a deadly mixture of toxins and carcinogens which was inhaled by 9/11 victims and responders. Recent medical reports that studied the effects of the cloud revealed new findings about illnesses that may affect 9/11 victims and their loved ones.
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) provides medical monitoring and treatment for injuries suffered by 9/11 victims and acknowledges more than 70 types of cancers linked to the dust cloud. An August 2016 report based on WTCHP information showed that the number of people affected by Ground Zero-related cancers has tripled in the last three years.
As of June 30, 2016, 5,441 people were enrolled in the WTCHP with cancer diagnoses, the majority of whom were first responders, emergency responders, recovery and cleanup workers and volunteers. Almost half of the enrollees with cancer are between 55 and 64 years old.
In 2013, Environmental Health Perspectives published a study finding more conclusive evidence linking cancer to the events of 9/11. Of the study’s 20,984 participants—all WTC rescue and recovery workers—552 were diagnosed with cancer between 9/11 and December 2008. Those who had been highly exposed to carcinogens and pollutants were more likely to be diagnosed. In addition, the study’s authors found higher levels of thyroid and prostate cancer than they had originally anticipated.
The Latency Factor
While certainly strong indicators, these and similar studies should be interpreted with caution, given the short follow-up and the long latency period associated with most cancer types. It’s possible that the statistics could continue to rise, because many cancers can remain dormant inside a person’s cells for years.
Information released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015 investigated 44 types of cancer, and its model indicated various cancer latencies. This included the following ranges:
· Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: 2.2 years
· Cancer of the Transverse Colon: 57 years
· Solid Cancers (tumors): 6.6 – 57 years
· Lymphoproliferative (lymphoid) and Hematopoietic (blood) Cancers: 2.2 – 35.7 years
Many other studies further explore the years-long latencies of cancers in the bodies and cells of 9/11 victims and survivors.
Contact Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. if you feel your condition was caused or worsened by the 9/11 attacks. If you have questions about the WTC Health Program and theSeptember 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you can reach out to us at (800) 962-9954 or via our contact page.