The Wall Street Journal has reported that a recent study shows that 9/11 responders have higher rates of leukemia. The original study, published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum journal, included 28,000 first responders, including law-enforcement officers, construction workers, and telecommunications workers. Most of the respondents were white, non-Hispanic men, and had an average age of 38 on September 11, 2001. The study found 1,072 cancers among 999 responders, with particular elevations of leukemia, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer. This is the first study to show an increase in the incidence of blood cancer (leukemia) among 9/11 responders compared to the general population. The study also suggests that increased rates of other types of cancers are likely to be discovered as more time passes since the attacks, as latency rates can be quite long.
Overall, there are 76,904 9/11 responders currently enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program. Cancers have been observed in 10,649 of those, including 362 cases of leukemia. Roughly 2,270 9/11 responders have died from cancer and other illnesses caused by exposure to 9/11-toxins.
What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It primarily affects white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection. In patients with leukemia, the body produces abnormal white blood cells that do not function as they should. The two main classifications of leukemia are acute and chronic. Acute leukemia affects immature blood cells (known as blasts), causing them to multiply rapidly, which requires timely and aggressive treatment. Chronic leukemia affects mature blood cells and causes them to multiply slowly while continuing to function normally, which can continue for years without symptoms.
Some common symptoms of leukemia include:
- Fever and chills
- Persistent fatigue
- Frequent or severe infections
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding and bruising
- Recurring nosebleeds
- Small red spots on the skin
- Excessive sweating
- Bone pain or tenderness
Among the common factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing any type of cancer (i.e., family history, genetic disorders, previous cancer treatment, etc.), exposure to benzene — one of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present at Ground Zero — is linked to an increased risk of developing leukemia.
Leukemia Is a Covered Condition Under the World Trade Center Health Program
Leukemia is one of the most common cancers observed in WTC Health Program enrollees, and many types of leukemia are covered conditions, including lymphoid leukemia, monocytic leukemia, and myeloid leukemia.
Contact a World Trade Center Lawyer for More Information about Leukemia Claims
If you or someone you love was a 9/11 responder and is currently suffering from leukemia, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information about 9/11-related cancer claims, including leukemia, please contact a World Trade Center lawyer at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at (844) WTC-COMP.