The 9/11 toxic dust is the known cause of rare cancers including pancreatic anal, testicular, stomach, tongue, intestinal, laryngeal, and many other types of rare cancers. These cancers, along with many others, are by definition rare (occurring in fewer than 15 out of 100,000), but have been and still are diagnosed all too often in the 9/11 population of responders and downtown residents, workers, students, and others.
In 2014, after reviewing over a decade of medical studies and science, the leadership of the World Trade Center Health Program confirmed the link between 9/11 exposure and rare x—including the brain, the cervix uteri, the pancreas, and the testis.
If you were a first responder to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, worked in the rescue, recovery, or cleanup efforts at the attack sites, or lived near those sites on 9/11 or the many months afterward and suffered from cancer or breathing or respiratory health conditions, you can pursue compensation and healthcare through two federal programs designed to assist the victims of 9/11.
An experienced attorney from Hansen & Rosasco can help you understand the process of applying or filing for these important lifetime medical benefits and tax-free compensation.
Rare Cancers Caused by 9/11 Exposure
Among the types of 9/11-related conditions that make an applicant eligible for health care and monitoring through the World Trade Center Health Program include a category called “rare cancers.” The administrator of the program wrote in 2014 that these cancers were considered rare, with fewer than 15 cases per 100,000 diagnosed per year. The following cancers are included on the list, though the administrator notes that individuals who have been diagnosed with other types of rare cancers not listed may also qualify for benefits.
Adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands on top of the kidneys. These glands create hormones that give instructions to nearly every organ and tissue in your body.
Adrenal cancer presents symptoms that include:
- Weight gain.
- Muscle weakness.
- Pink or purple stretch marks on the skin.
- Hormone changes in women that can result in excess facial hair, hair loss on the head, and irregular periods. In men, hormone changes from adrenal cancer can result in enlarged breast tissue or shrinking testicles.
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal bloating.
- Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss.
- Back pain.
Bone and Articular Cartilage Cancer
Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that occurs within cartilage cells. Cartilage is the gristly material from which bone tissue develops. In adults, this tissue acts as a connector in jointed areas throughout the body. The most common areas to be affected with chondrosarcoma include the femur (thigh bone), arm, pelvis, or knee.
This type of cancer—which is the second-most common type of primary bone cancer—presents with symptoms such as:
- A large mass on the affected bone.
- A feeling of pressure around the mass.
- Pain that increases gradually over time, is worse at night, and the rest does not relieve.
- Local swelling.
Breast Cancer in Men
While breast cancer is one of the more common types of cancer experienced by women, men can acquire this disease as well. Male breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin to grow in the breast tissue of a man.
Generally, surgeons remove the cancerous mass, followed by chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments. Male breast cancer is often not diagnosed until the later stages, as the man may attribute his symptoms to other causes.
The symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
- A painful lump or thickening in the breast tissue.
- Changes to the breast’s skin, such as dimpling, redness, or scaling.
- Changes to the nipple, including a nipple that suddenly turns inward or redness and scaling on the nipple.
- Discharge from the nipple.
The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located in the abdomen, just beneath the liver. The gallbladder’s primary function is the storage of bile, which is the digestive juice the liver produces. Unfortunately, gallbladder cancer often does not produce symptoms in the early stages when the chances of successful treatment and recovery are highest.
In later stages, the symptoms of gallbladder cancer include:
- Abdominal pain, particularly in the upper right portion of the abdomen.
- Abdominal bloating.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, which is known as jaundice.
Cancer of the Meninges, Brain, Spinal Cord, and Other Parts of the Nervous System
The central nervous system consists of the brain and related structures, such as the meninges, which is the protective covering over the brain, as well as the spinal cord. This system is among the most important of all bodily systems, as the brain controls the body’s voluntary movements and involuntary responses by relaying messages through the spinal cord.
A tumor in any part of the nervous system can cause loss of body functions and sensations. Brain tumors are either primary cancers or the result of metastatic tumors from cancer in other parts of the body. Cancers that are more likely to spread to the central nervous system include breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.
The signs and symptoms of cancer in the central nervous system depend on where the tumor in the CNS is located.
For brain tumors, common symptoms include:
- A morning headache or a headache that goes away after vomiting.
- Vision, hearing, and speech difficulties.
- Frequent nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
- Changes in personality, mood, and behavior.
- Loss of balance or trouble walking
- Changes in sleeping patterns, including unusual sleepiness.
Tumors in the spinal cord produce symptoms such as:
- Back pain or pain that spreads from the back to the arms and legs.
- Changes in bowel habits or difficulty urinating.
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs.
- Difficulty walking.
The pancreas is a gland located deep within the abdomen, between the stomach and the spine. Its primary functions involve making enzymes that aid in digestion, as well as hormones that control your blood sugar levels. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer often do not appear until the disease has progressed to later stages.
These symptoms can involve:
- Pain in the back or abdomen.
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss.
- Jaundice, with or without itching.
- Stool changes.
- Recent-onset diabetes.
Penis and Testicular Cancer
Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer that appears on the skin or within the structure of the penis.
Symptoms of this type of cancer include:
- A growth or sore on the penis that does not heal within four weeks.
- Bleeding from the penis or beneath the foreskin.
- Foul-smelling discharge.
- Thickening on the skin of the penis or foreskin or changes to the color of that skin.
- A rash on the penis.
Testicular cancer is the growth of abnormal cells within the testes.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle.
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, or a dull ache in the abdomen or groin.
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
- Pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum.
- Back pain.
- Enlargement or tenderness of breast tissues.
Placenta cancer occurs when there is a growth of abnormal cells within the uterus, appearing in the tissue that will ultimately become the placenta. This often results in the fetus’s inability to survive and grow in the placenta. This type of cancer is generally treated through surgery to remove the abnormal cells or even a hysterectomy to remove the uterus. A woman can no longer bear children after a hysterectomy.
Cancer of the Small Intestine
The small intestine is part of the body’s digestive system. It is a long tube that folds many times to fit inside the abdomen and connects the stomach to the large intestine. Small intestine cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the small intestine.
The symptoms of this type of cancer include:
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- A lump in the abdomen.
- Blood in the stool.
The thymus is a small organ just behind the breast bone in the front of the chest. This organ is an important part of the body’s immune system, responsible for producing and maturing T-lymphocytes, also known as T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight viruses, funguses, and other types of infections. Doctors may find a thymus tumor during an X-ray or bone scan for a different reason.
Symptoms of thymus cancer include:
- Shortness of breath due to the tumor pressing against nearby airway structures.
- Cough, with or without bloody sputum.
- Chest pain.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss.
Abnormal cell growth that begins in the female reproductive system is commonly called gynecologic cancer. There are five organs in the female reproductive system that can host tumorous cells, including the cervix, vagina, vulva, uterine, and ovary. Importantly, of the female reproductive tract, the only cancers that are covered by the WTCHP and the VCF are ovarian cancer and invasive cervical cancer, but NOT uterine cancer. A sixth gynecologic cancer can appear in the fallopian tubes, but this type of cancer is by far more rare than the others and whether or not this is covered by the 9/11 programs is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Of all of the organs that make up the female reproductive system, early screening is only available for cervical cancer. Symptoms vary according to the organ where the cancer originates.
Some common signs of gynecologic cancers include:
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.
- The feeling of being full after eating a very small amount.
- Pelvic pain or pressure.
- More frequent need to urinate or an increase in urinary urgency.
- Pain in the abdomen or back.
- Itching, burning, pain, or tenderness in the vulva.
- Changes in the skin color of the vulva or rashes, sores or warts that are only found in vulvar cancer.
The WTC Health Program
The WTC Health Program is one of two federal programs that were put in place to assist 9/11 victims. This program provides free lifetime healthcare and monitoring through partner providers across the country. To obtain this benefit, you must meet the program’s criteria, including presence in lower Manhattan or at other terrorist attack sites on 9/11 or at any time during the months of clean up that followed. You must also have your 9/11-related medical condition certified, including the cases discussed above or many other different cancer types.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, also referred to as VCF, provides compensation for wage loss and pain and suffering to those who acquired a 9/11-related condition. To obtain this compensation, you must also meet the eligibility by having been present at one of the attack sites, and your condition must be certified by the WTC Health Program. Filers must first register with the VCF website to reserve their right to file a claim anytime between now and 2090.
Help With Your 9/11 Benefits is Available
The experienced attorneys from Hansen & Rosasco have been advocating for 9/11 victims since the start. We understand the process of applying, registering, and filing for these programs and can also study the details of your case to determine if other federal programs can also help you.
Nobody should have to face recovery from rare cancer alone because of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. A trusted 9/11 benefits attorney can be an invaluable ally in your pursuit of justice.
Contact Hansen & Rosasco for a free consultation today.