9/11 Lymphoma and 9/11 Leukemia
Lymphoma and leukemia are two of the most common cancers found among 9/11 responders and survivors. In fact, lymphoma is one of the top five certified cancers by the World Trade Center Health Program. Leukemia is the eighth most common cancer found among 9/11 responders and survivors.
After the Twin Towers fell, enormous clouds of dust and smoke from the burning debris at Ground Zero engulfed much of Lower Manhattan and contaminated the air for months. As a result, thousands of responders, workers, residents, and others present in and around Ground Zero were exposed to cancer-causing dust, debris, and fumes. Additionally, debris covered in 9/11 toxins from Ground Zero were hauled to the Fresh Kills Landfill, piers, barges, and transfer stations, further exposing individuals miles away from Ground Zero. 9/11 toxins were also found at temporary and permanent morgues, and in garages where vehicles from Ground Zero were cleaned.
Hidden among that toxic cloud, and inhaled by survivors and first responders alike, were enormous quantities of carcinogenic particles and toxins. Specifically, samples of the dust tested by NIOSH were found to contain high concentrations of benzene and other human carcinogens that place people at high risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Huge spikes of rare cancer types, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, linked to these toxins have since been observed. In an analysis of the medical records of nearly 40,000 NYPD police officers who were on the job on September 11, 2001, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnoses were almost 50 percent higher than the general population. In a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, known as the Zeig-Owen Study, researchers discovered a higher incidence rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among 9/11 responder FDNY firefighters than among the general population.
Dr. Michael Crane, director of the 9/11 Health Program Clinic at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, has also confirmed the increase in cancer cases: “Here at Sinai, we see 10 to 15 new cancer patients in our population every week. Each week. I’ve been in medicine for 40 odd years. It’s remarkable.”
Lymphoma originates in your lymph system, the network spread throughout your body to fight diseases. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma exist. The most common non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma subtypes include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Leukemia is similar, except the cancer cells are found primarily in blood and bones, rather than the lymph system.
WTC Health Program Administrator, Dr. John Howard, has determined minimum latency periods for cancers to be considered related to 9/11 toxins exposure. Minimum latency periods are measured from the date of initial exposure to 9/11 toxins exposure. The minimum latency period for lymphoproliferative and hematopoietic cancers (including all types of leukemia and lymphoma, and multiple myeloma) is 0.4 years (equivalent to 146 days). In other words, 9/11 toxins could have caused lymphoma or leukemia to develop within only initial 147 days of exposure. It is important to note that this is the shortest minimum latency period of all cancers covered by the WTC Health Program. As a comparison, the latency period for solid cancers, such as lung or prostate, is four years.
In addition to lymphoma, the WTCHP has linked 68 other cancers, respiratory conditions, and aerodigestive disorders to 9/11 toxins exposure. Individuals suffering from any of these covered conditions may be eligible for free medical treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program and financial compensation through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
In general, individuals may be eligible for the WTC Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund if, between 9/11/01 and 5/30/02, they were present in any capacity:
- In Lower Manhattan below Canal Street
- At the Fresh Kills landfill
- On barges/trucks/piers along debris removal routes
- At 9/11 related morgues
- At garages where emergency vehicles were cleaned
Families of individuals who passed away from a 9/11 related condition, and were present at one of the above locations between 9/11/01 and 5/30/02, may also be eligible for compensation.