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Number of 9/11 responders and others who were at Ground Zero with cancer has tripled

Published: August 15, 2016
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Source: Daily Mail

 

  • WTC Health Program has 5,441 people with 6,378 separate cancers
  • In 2014 it had 1,822, out of the total 48,000 people on its books
  • Dust and smoke from 9/11 attacks has been linked to 50 types of cancer
  • One firefighter said he often sees 10-15 responders at his cancer hospital
  • The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund made its first cancer payout in 2013 

The number of 9/11 responders and others on the scene who have been diagnosed with cancer has tripled in less than three years, it has emerged.

In January 2014 the number of people in the WTC Health Program with cancer was just 1,822. Now it's a massive 5,441, with 6,378 separate cancers recorded.

'It’s been steady for at least the last year and a half - we’re seeing new people here being certified for cancer 10-15 times week. That’s every week,' Dr Michael Crane, medical director of the program, told the NY Post.

Stricken: The WTC Health Program's list of cancer victims has risen from 1,822 in 2014 to 5,441. Dust and smoke from the attacks has been linked to more than 50 types of cancer

Stricken: The WTC Health Program's list of cancer victims has risen from 1,822 in 2014 to 5,441. Dust and smoke from the attacks has been linked to more than 50 types of cancer

The WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and treatment for more than 48,000 people who responded to, or were victims of, the 9/11 attacks.

Those people are now at risk of more than 50 types of cancer that have been linked to the smoke and dust created in those attacks.

Victims can claim money from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, although it only made its first cancer payout in October 2013.

Long-time firefighter Ray Pfeifer, 58, is one of those stricken by the attacks: he now has Stage 4 kidney cancer that has spread throughout his body.

He was off-duty when the planes hit, but rushed straight to the scene and ultimately spent nine days working and sleeping at Ground Zero.

And he stayed at the site for a further eight months to find the remains of his team at Engine 40/Ladder 35 on the Upper West Side, 12 of whom were killed when the towers fell.

Hero: Firefighter Ray Pfeifer (pictured, center with Jon Stewart, receiving the key to New York) now has Stage 4 kidney cancer. He says many 9/11 responders use his cancer hospital

Hero: Firefighter Ray Pfeifer (pictured, center with Jon Stewart, receiving the key to New York) now has Stage 4 kidney cancer. He says many 9/11 responders use his cancer hospital

He ignored his coughing and shortness of breath until 2009, when a pain in his hip turned out to be a baseball-sized tumor. He has since undergone 11 surgeries.

And now he regularly visits the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he finds himself in the company of other responders. 

'I see cops and firemen there,' he told the NY Post. 'It's not unheard of to see five-to-ten people who worked on the pile getting treated for cancer.' 

As well as the 48,000 people on the books of the WTC Health Program, there are 16,000 people on a separate program run by the Fire Department of New York.

Treatment: The WTC program has 48,000 people on its books; the FDNY has 16,000. Money can be claimed from a victim fund, but it only made its first cancer payout in 2013

Treatment: The WTC program has 48,000 people on its books; the FDNY has 16,000. Money can be claimed from a victim fund, but it only made its first cancer payout in 2013

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