Cancer, medical complications for 9/11 survivors, says the CDC report

Former “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart (2nd R) watches as Chuck Schumer (R), U.S. Senate Minority, D-NY, speaks with John Feal (C), health advocate for on September 11 and September 11 respondents, survivors and their families, during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2019, to discuss the introduction of bipartisanship “Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the 11th September Victim Compensation Fund Act” and to call for their speedy passage.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer diagnoses and medical complications have skyrocketed in the past eight years for 9/11 survivors and first responders to have inhaled debris. toxic after terrorist attacks.

Of the 104,223 enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, a federal benefit plan for survivors and respondents, 58% of all program members have contracted at least one illness caused by 9/11 since last year, according to the latest CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Cancers relative to 9/11 among members increased by more than 1,000% from 1,870 confirmed cases in 2013 to 20,612 cases in 2020, the research found.

“The WTC’s ongoing research has led to a better understanding of 9/11 exposure and the physical and mental health associations for its members,” the report said.

The MMWR did not compare its findings on cancer and noncancer conditions to the general population, but a 2018 CDC study predicted that New York City firefighters working in ground zero would “experience a greater cancer burden. of what was expected of a demographically similar population. “

The researchers wrote that they expected more prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and melanoma from the sample group of 12,374 white, male firefighters.

Non-cancerous health problems of members have escalated from 28,126 certified medical conditions in 2012 to 50,611 in 2020, an increase of 80%. The program calculated an average of 2.7 9/11 health conditions per member and added that about 400,000 people came into contact with dangerous pollutants after the attacks, raising their risk of medical complications.

Founded in 2011 using funds from the Zadroga Act, the World Trade Center Health Program covers “medical screening, monitoring and treatment” for individuals whose 9/11-related illnesses have been assessed by a clinical provider and certified by the program staff, the MMWR said. The program saw a 62% increase in patients treated from 25,553 in 2012 to 41,387 in 2020, corresponding to an uptick of nearly 68% in enrollments in the same period.

Last year alone, the CDC said nearly 31% of cancer patients in the program had skin cancer, more than 23% had cancer that affected the male genital system, and nearly 12% had “neoplasms.” site, ”or cancers that had not yet spread. The digestive system and breast cancer each account for about another 8% of patients.

But of the 50,611 enrollments facing non-cancerous diseases by 2020, 46,072 patients have developed respiratory and digestive conditions, while 18,450 members have reported mental health disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Members may have conditions in more than one group.

And with enrollments growing in age, the report anticipated an increase in the use and cost of its services. Chronic illnesses and comorbidities are more common among older adults could make it even more difficult to treat conditions related to 9/11, according to the report.

“The results of this report highlight the need for continued research efforts due to persistent and emerging health conditions related to WTC in an aging population,” the study said.

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