Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart (2nd R) watches as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R), D-NY, with John Feal (C), a 9/11 health lawyer , and 9/11 First speaks to emergency responders, survivors and their families during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 25, 2019 to mark the introduction of the bipartisan “Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund Act ”of September 11th and to call for its rapid passage.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
Cancer diagnoses and medical complications have skyrocketed over the past eight years in 9/11 survivors and first responders who inhaled toxic debris after the terrorist attacks, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of the 104,223 participants in the World Trade Center Health Program, a federal benefit plan for survivors and first responders, 58% of all program members developed at least one disease caused by 9/11 in the past year, according to the latest morbidity and mortality rate from the CDC Weekly Report. 9/11-related cancers among members rose more than 1,000% from 1,870 confirmed cases in 2013 to 20,612 cases in 2020, the study found.
“The WTC’s continued research has led to a better understanding of 9/11 exposures and the physical and mental health of its members,” the report said.
The MMWR did not compare its findings on cancerous and non-cancerous diseases to the general population, but a 2018 CDC study predicted that New York firefighters working on Ground Zero would “experience a greater burden of cancer than one demographically similar population would be expected ”. . “
Researchers wrote that they expected more prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and melanoma from the sample group of 12,374 white male firefighters.
Member non-cancer health problems increased from 28,126 certified diseases in 2012 to 50,611 in 2020, an increase of 80%. The program averaged 2.7 9/11-related health conditions per member, adding that approximately 400,000 people came into contact with dangerous pollutants following the attacks, increasing their risk for medical complications.
The World Trade Center Health Program was established in 2011 with funding from the Zadroga Act and includes “medical screening, monitoring and treatment” for people whose 9/11 diseases are assessed by a clinical provider and by program staff, the MMWR. certified were named. The program saw the number of patients treated increased by 62% from 25,553 in 2012 to 41,387 in 2020, representing a nearly 68% increase in enrollment over the same period.
Last year alone, the CDC reported that nearly 31% of cancer patients in the program had skin cancer, over 23% with cancer of the male genital system, and nearly 12% with “in situ neoplasms” or cancer that had not yet spread. Digestive system and breast cancer each made up about an additional 8% of patients.
But of the 50,611 participants who faced benign diseases in 2020, 46,072 patients developed respiratory and digestive problems, while 18,450 members reported mental disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Members can have conditions in more than one group.
And as the age of the participants grew, the report anticipated an increase in the use and cost of its services. Chronic illnesses and comorbidities, which are more common in older adults, could make conditions related to 9/11 even more difficult, the report said.
“The results in this report underscore the need for further research due to persistent and emerging health conditions associated with the WTC in an aging population,” the study said.