Cancer may be in the body for a period of time—even a decade or more— before symptoms develop. For victims of the 9/11 attack, getting a diagnosis of cancer becomes the lasting legacy of one of the worst days in our history. The toxins released into the atmosphere contained many known carcinogens (the substances that promote the formation of cancer) including asbestos, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and benzene, among others.
It was perhaps best described by Dr. Michael Crane of the World Trade Center Health Program: “We will never know the composition of that cloud, because the wind carried it away, but people were breathing and eating it…What we do know is that it had all kinds of god-awful things in it. Burning jet fuel. Plastics, metal, fiberglass, asbestos. It was thick, terrible stuff. A witch’s brew.”
For the responders, volunteers, workers, residents and students who were present in the exposure zone on that day and up to May 30, 2002, and who have developed a 9/11-related cancer, help is available through the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).
9/11 Cancers identified as being caused by carcinogens at the NYC exposure zone
According to a scholarly article in JNCI Cancer Spectrum published in November, 2019, an analysis showed “statistically significant elevations in cancer incidence for all cancer sites combined and for prostate and thyroid cancers and leukemia” among the participants in the study. In fact, the “rate of cancers experienced by first responders is up to 30 percent higher than in the general population.”
While not an exhaustive list, some types of cancers caused by carcinogens in the 9/11 WTC collapse dust cloud include:
- Hematological (blood cancers)
- Lymphatic (spleen, thymus gland, etc.)
- Digestive (colon, pancreas, stomach, etc.)
- Respiratory system (lung and bronchus)
- Mesothelioma (caused by asbestos exposure)
- Urinary (bladder, kidneys)
- Eye and eye orbit
- Soft and connective tissue
Medical care and Financial assistance for 9/11 cancer victims
Under the Zadroga Act cancer list, screening and medical care is available to victims of 9/11 for certified WTC-related health problems. Cancer coverage under the WTCHP began in October of 2012.
For first responders, all treatment is covered by the program (unless covered under workers’ compensation), but victims must use the pharmacies and health care providers affiliated with the program. Survivors get the same treatment as first responders—including monitoring, screening, and medications. The only difference is that the WTCHP program covers only that portion not paid for by the survivor’s primary insurance, whether public (for instance, Medicare) or private insurance.
Those who feel their cancer is 9/11-related should get screened immediately to ensure the best possible outcome for any diagnosis.
Financial compensation is done through the Victim Compensation Fund and is available to those who have been diagnosed with a 9/11 cancer or illness. This is not limited to first responders, but also to those who worked, lived, went to school, or volunteered in the clean up in the exposure zone. Monetary compensation for 9/11 cancer victims is intended to cover economic losses such as loss of earnings, household services, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and in the worst of all cases, funeral costs.
There is a critical timeline for registering with the VCF. Those who have not yet registered with the VCF must, in most circumstances, do so not later than July 29, 2021 in order to preserve their right to file a claim. If you do not register by July 29, 2021 you may still be eligible, so long as it is within two years from the date you knew your condition was 9/11-related. The deadline for claim submission is October 1, 2090.
Types of cancer covered on the 9/11 cancer list
Cancers must be certified as being 9 11-related in order to be covered. These can include:
- Blood cancer (i.e., leukemia)
- Childhood cancers
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Brain cancer
- Colon cancer
- Skin cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer
Past VCF payouts filed by our 9/11 attorneys
As a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund lawyers, we were witness to the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001. That gives us the additional passion and dedication to helping people who have been injured, made ill, or who have contracted cancer as a result of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Our track record of obtaining maximum VCF cancer payouts for our clients is a result of that commitment. This includes an award of $1,892,969.00 for a victim of 9/11 pancreatic cancer.
Learn more about how the dedicated attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse help victims obtain medical care and compensation for their 9/11 cancer
Our 9/11 lawyers have the skill and experience needed to help victims get the medical care and financial compensation they need to move forward. To learn more about how we can help, please contact us online today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.