Experts warn 9/11 firefighters have much higher risk of cancer

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Apr 27, 2018, 2:31 pm IST
Updated Apr 27, 2018, 2:31 pm IST
For many survivors the repercussions of the deadly attack are still being felt 17 years later.
Experts warn 9/11 firefighters have much higher risk of cancer. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Experts warn 9/11 firefighters have much higher risk of cancer. (Photo: Pixabay)

17 years after the 9/11 horrific attacks, several studies have investigated how thousands of brave people who rushed to the scene to help have a high risk of a range of health issues from PTSD to cancer.

As the victims age, new research discovers just how deadly the repercussions of the attack on New York City are still being felt for so many affected by it.

 

Recently, two reports have found survivors of September 11 are at higher risk of cancers than previously believed, the Daily Mail reported. This is because the chemicals they were exposed to make the disease more aggressive. Researchers say surviving first-responders are developing cancer almost 10 to 15 years earlier than the general population.

The second study has found that survivors are more prone to the rare blood cancer multiple myeloma. They develop a very aggressive form of it 15 years earlier than the general population. It is also challenging to treat.

"If you just stick to the data and you see they are 10 to 15 years younger than the general population, it's a more aggressive myeloma, and there is a doubling of the rate of the precursor," Dr Ola Landgren, author of the myeloma study and top oncologist at of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

Adding, "Clearly, something is going on. We have learned quite a lot over the last few years about exposures to certain types of chemicals, and we are now more aware of the connection."

Both reports were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

However, American Cancer Society doctor Otis Brawley suggests more research needs to be done to investigate how much of this is related to occupation hazard versus consequence of the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

In the report, Brawley said: "The predicted increases in cancers of the prostate, thyroid, and myeloma are interesting. Excess incidence and mortality for these cancers have been previously reported in firefighters from other cities. Are the predicted increases due to WTC [World Trade Centre] exposure or a career as a firefighter?"

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