Rare Cancers Connected to Exposure During 9-11 Attacks

Lower Manhattan 9-11 Memorial Light

No one who was old enough to know what was going on that day will ever forget where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001 when the terrorist attack occurred. It was an event that has been burned into your memories even if we were not there in person for the events that unfolded. According to Wikipedia, it was the single largest loss of life due to a terrorist attack and it was a moment that shook the nation to its core yet ultimately unified us for a time. Even after the devastation became a more distant memory and clean up began, the effects of the attacks were felt by thousands as they struggled with injuries and illnesses stemming directly from the events of September 11th.


hazmat Exposure and Cancer: What is the Connection?

Exposure to hazardous materials that were associated with the destruction and clean up of the terrorists attacks of 9/11 are liked to a wide range of health conditions and diseases, including many different types of cancer, some of them very rare. Exactly which cancers are caused by this exposure is not clear, but ongoing research and medical recording has shown an ever-growing list of cancers that are believed to be linked to the hazardous materials that victims, rescue workers, law enforcement officials, and clean-up crews were exposed to in the months following the attacks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) manages the World Trade Center Health Program. This program maintains a registry of people who were exposed to hazardous materials in the months after the attacks in New York, Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA and records what cancers they have been diagnosed with.


Cancers Now Associated With the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Cancers recorded include many different cancers including these rarer cancers:

All cancers that have been diagnosed in people under 20 as young adult and childhood cancers in general are seen as rare even if the cancer itself is a more common cancer such as breast cancer or skin cancer.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma- it is seen in more frequent numbers and at higher rates in individuals who were at one of the ground zero points of the September 11th attacks or who were directly involved in rescue and clean-up efforts.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma- other forms of lymphoma are also seen more frequently in those who were exposed to debris and dust and waste materials from the trade towers and the pentagon.
  • Leukemia- blood cancer is also seen in individuals who were involved in the terrorist attacks either as victims of the attacks directly or who were involved in rescue and clean-up efforts, sometimes appearing years after the exposure.
  • Multiple myeloma– a fairly rare cancer to begin with it is seen in far more people who had a connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th than the general population which is why the connection has been established.
  • Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia- a severe and rare type of lymphoma cancer this disease has a very high death rate and the survivability after diagnosis is usually five years or less.
  • Esophageal Cancer- cancer of the esophagus is also common among victims and clean-up crews as the dust from the buildings carried all manner of dangerous chemicals and particles that would have coated people’s throats as they struggled to breathe.
  • Liver Cancer- cancer not connected to liver damage caused by alcohol or drugs is rare and it is a cancer that is seen in some survivors of the terrorist attacks and in those who lead clean up and rescue efforts after the attacks.
  • Rectal Cancer- one type of cancer showing up in victims of the September 11th attacks that has surprised some medical experts is the growing number of rectal cancers that are begins diagnosed even years after the initial exposure.
  • Stomach Cancer- along with breathing in toxin fumes and dust particles many people ingested harmful materials as a result of the debris cloud from the attacks, which in turn, has cause a large number of stomach cancer diagnoses.
  • Eye Cancer- cancer of the eye is rare and usually limited to older individuals but after exposure to harmful materials as many involved in the attacks were, the irritation to the eye often lead to worsening conditions such as cancer.
  • Adnexa- cancer of the tissues around the uterus and ovaries in women is rare but is seen in women who were exposed to dust and chemicals as a result of being at or around ground zero of the attack.
  • Lung and Bronchus Cancer- as the dust particles gathered in the lungs and airways of victims they caused massive damage to the soft delicate tissue, which often lead to chronic breathing problems and the development of cancer.
  • Heart Cancer- cancer of the heart is rare in and of itself but in 9/11 victims we see a higher rate of mediastinum, pleura, and other hear cancers that are believed to be directly connected to their exposure during the attack.
  • Skin Cancer – both Malignant Melanoma of the skin as well as Non-Melanoma skin cancers have also been reported in higher than average numbers among those who has prolonged exposure to the dust and debris during and after the attacks.
  • Kidney Cancer- one of the lesser known cancers in general compared to others, kidney cancer is also seen in higher rates among those who were in and around the area of the World Trade Tower and the Pentagon attacks.
  • Prostate Cancer- men are seen to have a higher occurrence of prostate issues including cancer after their exposure to toxic materials from the 9/11 terrorist attacks and have a shorter life expectancy as well.
  • Mesothelioma- exposure to old dry wall, insulation and building materials as a result of the terrorist attacks exposed thousands to asbestos which, in turn, has led to many diagnoses of mesothelioma.
  • Adrenal Cancer- another fairly rare cancer, adrenal cancer is seen in higher numbers and at a more aggressive rate among World Trade Center victims than what is seen among the general population on average.
  • Bone Cancer- varying levels and degrees of bone cancer are showing up in those who were involved in the attack, the rescue efforts or the long clean up and sometimes the cancer goes unnoticed and undiagnosed for years.
  • Gallbladder Cancer- while issues with the gallbladder are common cancer is fairly uncommon among the general population but we see more cases of it creeping up in people who were exposed to debris clouds during the attacks.
  • Brain Cancer- rare forms of brain cancer have been seen in people who had prolonged exposure to the debris either from being trapped, helping with rescue efforts, or working with the clean-up operations.
  • Pancreatic Cancer- a devastating cancer that has a very short life expectancy associated with it more people that normal seem to be developing pancreatic cancer after the events of 9/11 than the rest of the population.
  • Penile and Testicular Cancer- men are more likely to develop vary degrees of penile and testicular cancer if they were exposed to debris and dust clouds from the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.
  • Ovarian Cancer- women are reporting more diagnoses of ovarian cancer following the terrorist attacks and the highest numbers seem to be among those who had prolonged exposure to the dust and debris.
  • Thymus Cancer- a type of lymphatic cancer it is rare on its own but a higher number of men and women are being diagnosed with this cancer after being involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
  • Cervical Cancer- women have a higher rate of cervical cancers following the events of 9/11 and it is believed exposure to dust as well as prolonged inhalation and digestion of the dust and chemicals may be the contributing factor.
  • Neuroendocrine Cancer – this is a broad term given to cancerous cells that begin to grow and spread in any part of the body that is associated with the endocrine system and is very rare but is seen in higher number in 9/11 victims.
  • Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Disorders- a disease that attacks the bone marrow and affects the production of white blood cells, this can lead to the development or worsening of other cancers whether diagnosed yet or not.


Your Legal Right to Seek Compensation

In light of the worst terrorist attack ever on American Soil, action was taken to try and help those so adversely affected by the events of 9-11. To this end, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was set up. According to an article by CNN, here are a few facts about the VCF and what it did and is doing for victims:

  • From 2001 to 2003, it processed the bulk of the initial claims related to injuries sustained by individuals as a result of the terrorist attacks.
  • In 2011, the fund began taking new applications once more in order to accommodate more individuals who were developing illnesses as a result of exposure to the debris, mainly clean-up crews, emergency responders and medical personnel who spent a lot of time in and around the attack sites.
  • The WTC Health Registry has continued to work closely with local and federal agencies to monitor and track the health and wellness of those who have claims with the fund, many which include the development of rare cancers not usually seen in the general public or not seen at such a high frequency as what is being reported by victims of the attacks.
  • More than 7,000 claims from 75 countries were entered and more than 5,500 of those cases were awarded financial compensation- all of which totalled more than $7 billion in total.
  • The fund received 2,963 death claims which was more than 98% of the claims made by eligible families. In almost 90% of the claims the family was awarded financial compensation and the rate of compensation per family ranged from $2 million to $7 million each depending on factors including who died, their age, and their status in the family structure.
  • Approximately 4,500 personal injury claims were awarded through the fund and around half of the cases ranged in pay out from $500.00 for an accidental injury caused by rescue teams to $8.6 million for the loss of multiple family members.
  • More claims have been processed even years later as growing connections have been established between exposure to dust, debris, and chemicals from the attacks and the development of life altering health conditions like cancer or other terminal diseases.


Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has been affected by the events of September 11th, 2001, you do not have to fight alone or suffer in silence. If you have questions about whether or not you have gotten all the compensation you are owed, we can help you find the answers you are seeking. We are here to put our years of real world case experience to work so contact us today and let our team of experienced professionals go to work for you on your case and fight for your rights!  Call us today to get started with your free case review and to get the help you deserve.