The number of cancer cases among rescue workers and responders to the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 is growing, CNN reports.
Some findings indicate that the number of cancer cases among 9/11 rescue workers and responders has doubled since last year.
Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, has raised questions about such year-to-year reports, though.
Brawley points out that even if the number of cases has actually doubled, cancer rates typically increase with age. He thus stresses the need to conduct additional and more accurate scientific research studies to determine the validity of that statistic.
Still, Brawley does not challenge research that suggests 9/11 rescue and recovery workers have a disproportionate number of cancer cases compared to the general population.
According to Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health, a deep scientific analysis of available medical data through 2010 revealed a 20 percent increase in the rate of cancer cases among 9/11 rescue and recovery workers versus among the general population.
Since 2002, Mount Sinai has screened more than 37,000 World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers, and from that group, the center has reported 1,646 certified cancer certified cancer cases. The FDNY has reported 863 cancer cases among both fire and EMS personnel, bringing the total number of 9/11-related cancer cases to 2,509.
Those cases typically have involved leukemia, myeloma, thyroid and prostate cancers—cancers that the federal government says are likely directly related to the 9/11 emergency relief effort.
The World Trade Center Health Program, which the U.S. government established to provide medical monitoring and treatment services for 9/11 responders and survivors, also asserts that the site of the destroyed buildings contained agent-causing cancers.
“I think all of us are open to the possibility that these brave folks were exposed to things that caused further illness,” Brawley stated. “What’s most important is that someone has cancer and needs help and we should continue to provide them with the good care they truly deserve.”