WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- It’s been almost 17 years now, yet “9/11 is still killing.”
- Officials reported that over 1,700 first responders and others affected have died, including 420 of those stricken with cancer.
- The 9/11 first responders face significantly higher rates of thyroid cancer and skin melanoma and higher risks of bladder cancer.
As the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks approaches, health concerns continue to arise for the nearly 10,000 New York residents reported to be suffering from cancer symptoms caused by the toxic dust and smoke at Ground Zero.
“Sadly, this fragile community of heroes and survivors is shrinking by the day,” says John Feal, a spokesperson for WTC responders.
So far, the World Trade Center Health Program reports 1,700 first responders and others who have died with 420 of them succumbing to cancer.
An increasing number of cancer-stricken patients have been determined since the WTCHP started tracking the disease in 2013. This is expected since cancer, aside from having latency periods, typically manifest symptoms after years of exposure to toxic substances.
According to Dr. Michael Crane of the WTCHP at Mount Sinai Hospital, epidemiologic studies have established that 9/11 first responders face significantly higher rates of thyroid cancer and skin melanoma and higher risks of bladder cancer. Non-responders such as downtown workers, students and others have increased rates in breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and other blood-cell disorder.
Search and rescue workers including 44-year-old FDNY Firefighter John McNamara who died of colon cancer, veteran firefighters Ray Pfeifer, 59 and John Mckee,49, were among the growing list of lost 9/11 heroes who were directly exposed to Ground Zero dust.
The surviving rescuers who were reported to be affected with cancer face continuing daily struggles.
NYPD Sgt. Tom Wilson for one, who worked 344 hours at Ground Zero manning the Williamsburg Bridge when the first plane struck, was diagnosed with an aggressive tongue cancer in 2008. Despite being in constant pain, the father of five told The Post that he is grateful to be alive and still has his passion for public service.
He said,” I probably could go out on disability, but working is my therapy-it helps me. God forbid there’s another 9/11, I want to be able to respond to that.”
Another victim is Debbie Morales who was diagnosed with an advanced brain cancer eight years after the attacks. She underwent an 8-hour surgery to have a tumor removed. Back then, she was a receptionist and spent hours sifting and retrieving paperwork in a dust-laden office.
Sadly, complications in a process to harvest and freeze her eggs crushed Morales’ dreams of having kids.
She cried saying, “I’m fearful about everything since 9/11. I feel that thing just took everything away.”
Source: New York Post