Prostate cancer was added to the list of covered cancers eligible for treatment by the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) in October 2013 and also for compensation by the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (sometimes called the 911 Cancer Fund). Prostate cancer and other 9/11 related cancers and conditions have been prevalent among first responders who were exposed to multitudes of carcinogens during the rescue and cleanup operations after 9/11.
9/11 Responders and Cancer Studies
In April 2013, a medical journal highlighted the results of a five year study of 9/11 first responders. These rescue and recovery workers were 15% more likely to have thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer. In early 2013, however, prostate cancer was not on the list of cancers eligible for treatment or compensation. 911 Cancer Fund lawyers and advocates were hearing from 9/11 responders with prostate cancer seeking treatment and compensation and notifying them that neither the WTCHP nor the 9/11 Cancer Fund could help them.
That all changed when prostate cancer was added to the list of 9/11-related cancers under the 911 Cancer Fund in October 2013. Now, 9/11 responders and survivors diagnosed with prostate cancer before October 21, 2013 have until October 21, 2015 to register with the 911 Cancer Fund. If diagnosed after October 21, 2013, that individual has two years from the date of diagnosis to register.
Prostate Cancer: Eligible for Treatment But Not Screening?
Since being added to the list of cancers eligible for treatment, however, reports have noted that WTCHP centers like Mt. Sinai are not screening for prostate cancer among responders and survivors. Curiously, a spokesperson for Mount Sinai stated that they did not screen for it because of “national guidelines.” But added that, “diagnostic, specialty consultation and treatment services are available for prostate-cancer patients through the WTCHP.” (Nypost.com). Many responders and survivors will have to rely on their primary care physicians to either diagnose the prostate cancer or refer them to an urologist.
It is not only first responders who are being diagnosed with prostate cancer due to their exposure to the dust and smoke in the aftermath of 9/11. Wall Street traders, office workers and residents of Lower Manhattan are making claims with the 911 Cancer Fund as well. Responders, clean up workers, and survivors diagnosed with prostate cancer who have not registered with the 911 Cancer Fund should do so as soon as possible.
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