9/11 Related Cancers, Diseases and Illnesses Attorney

Our Top Priority: Supporting 9/11 Survivors and Families

More than 35,000 people will develop a 9/11 cancer or illness over the next ten years. In the nearly 20 years that passed since 9/11 more than 100,000 people have applied for and receive help for their 9/11-related illnesses and cancers. They received this help from two separate government programs: The World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. These programs operate slightly differently, but together they seek to provide medical coverage and pay compensation to victims of 9/11 and their families.

When the Twin Towers fell, they exposed thousands of downtown area residents, workers, students, volunteers, and first responders to deadly and toxic chemicals and contaminants. In fact, scientists and researchers identified more than 2,500 contaminants in the air, including known carcinogens such as concrete dust, glass, asbestos, and fiberglass. Everyone in Lower Manhattan during this time breathed in these particles, exposing themselves to potentially deadly toxins. Now, many received diagnoses of serious and chronic breathing conditions, deadly cancers, and painful medical conditions.

Do you know where you were when the Twin Towers fell? What about in the months or year that followed?

If you were in Lower Manhattan or anywhere near Ground Zero on 9/11 or at any time during the many months afterwards and you were diagnosed with an illness or cancer at any time in the 19 years that followed, you may be eligible to be paid substantial compensation and receive lifetime medical benefits. Determining eligibility is difficult, however. That is why you need an experienced 9/11 attorney on your side from the start.

Differences Between 9/11 Programs

When you seek benefits and compensation from the two different 9/11 benefit programs, it is important to understand the differences between the two programs. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program) provides free medical monitoring and a lifetime of healthcare for 9/11-related illnesses and cancers. It is not a financial compensation program. In comparison, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is a compensation program — it provides for payment of compensation for many breathing and digestive illnesses, plus over 70 different types of cancers.

To obtain compensation from the VCF, your illness must be “certified” by the WTC Health Program as eligible for treatment — that the cancer or other illness was in fact linked to exposure to the 9/11 toxins that were in the air and water until the end of 2001 all the way through the middle of 2002. While you must take this step, obtaining WTC Health Program certification does not guarantee that you will receive VCF compensation. Qualifying for the VCF is more difficult because the “exposure zone” is smaller and there are many additional requirements that must be met before the DOJ Special Master of the VCF makes a compensation award.

To collect compensation from the VCF, you must have been present in the exposure zone any time between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. The VCF exposure zone only includes the area of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street/East Broadway/Clinton Street. In comparison, the WTC Health Program exposure zone includes a section of Downtown Brooklyn (Brooklyn Heights), as well as Lower Manhattan past Canal Street up to Houston Street.

Anyone who lived, worked, went to school, volunteered, or responded to the crisis in any way in the exposure zones may qualify for compensation and benefits. You do not need to have been a first responder to qualify. To learn more, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced 9/11 attorney. Your attorney will need to hear your story and evaluate your claim closely to determine all the health benefits and amount of compensation that you qualify for.

Types of Illnesses and Cancers

There are many different illnesses, chronic disabling breathing diseases, and cancers that qualify for healthcare medical monitoring, and financial compensation. The WTC Program lists over 70 cancers, as well as a variety of serious illnesses and medical conditions. Over 16,000 WTC Health Program members suffer from cancer and an additional 8,000 suffer from chronic respiratory disorders.

Some of the most common 9/11 cancers and illnesses include, but are not limited to:

Blood and Lymphoid Tissue (including, but not limited to, lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma), including:

  • Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia
  • Undifferentiated (diffuse)
  • True histiocytic lymphoma
  • T-zone lymphoma
  • T-cell lymphomas, other and unspecified
  • Subacute myeloid leukemia
  • Subacute monocytic leukemia
  • Subacute lymphocytic leukemia
  • Subacute leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Small cleaved cell, follicular
  • Small cleaved cell (diffuse)
  • Small cell (diffuse)
  • Sezary’s disease
  • Prolymphocytic leukemia
  • Plasmacytoma, extramedullary
  • Plasma cell leukemia
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphomas
  • Peripheral and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Other types of follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Other types of diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Other monocytic leukemia
  • Other malignant immunoproliferative diseases
  • Other lymphoid leukemia
  • Other leukemias of specified cell type
  • Other leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Other Hodgkin’s disease
  • Other and unspecified types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Other and unspecified lymphoid, hematopoietic, and related tissue
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, unspecified type
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, other unspecified
  • Nodular sclerosis
  • Myeloid sarcoma
  • Myeloid leukemia, unspecified
  • Myeloid leukemia, other
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Mycosis fungoides
  • Multiple myeloma and malignant plasma cell neoplasms
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Multifocal and multisystemic (disseminated) Langerhans-cell histiocytosis
  • Monocytic leukemia, unspecified
  • Monocytic leukemia
  • Mixed small cleaved and large cell, follicular
  • Mixed small and large cell (diffuse)
  • Mixed cellularity
  • Mast cell leukemia
  • Malignant mast cell tumor
  • Malignant immunoproliferative diseases
  • Malignant immunoproliferative disease, unspecified
  • Malignant histiocytosis
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Lymphoma, unspecified
  • Lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue, unspecified
  • Lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue, other specified
  • Lymphoid leukemia, unspecified
  • Lymphoid leukemia
  • Lymphoepithelioid lymphoma
  • Lymphocytic predominance
  • Lymphocytic depletion
  • Lymphoblastic (diffuse)
  • Leukemias, others specified
  • Leukemia, unspecified
  • Leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Large cell, follicular
  • Large cell (diffuse)
  • Immunoproliferative small intestinal disease
  • Immunoblastic (diffuse)
  • Hodgkin’s disease, unspecified
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Hairy-cell leukemia
  • Gamma heavy chain disease
  • Follicular non-Hodgkin
  • Follicular (nodular) non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma, unspecified
  • Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Chronic monocytic leukemia
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Chronic leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Chronic erythremia
  • Burkitt’s tumor
  • B-cell lymphoma, unspecified
  • Alpha heavy chain disease
  • Adult T-cell leukemia
  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • Acute panmyelosis
  • Acute myelomonocytic leukemia
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Acute myelofibrosis
  • Acute monocytic leukemia
  • Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Acute leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Acute erythremia and erythroleukemia

Digestive System

  • Upper third
  • Transverse colon
  • Thoracic part
  • Stomach, unspecified
  • Stomach
  • Splenic flexure
  • Specified parts of peritoneum
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Retroperitoneum and peritoneum
  • Retroperitoneum
  • Rectum
  • Rectosigmoid junction
  • Pylorus
  • Pyloric antrum
  • Peritoneum, unspecified
  • Overlapping lesion of digestive system
  • Overlapping lesion of colon
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other specified carcinomas of liver
  • Other sarcomas of liver
  • Other and ill-defined digestive organs
  • Middle third
  • Lower third
  • Liver, unspecified
  • Liver cell carcinoma
  • Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Lesser curvature, unspecified
  • Intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma
  • Intestinal tract, part unspecified
  • Ill-defined sites within the digestive system
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Hepatic flexure
  • Greater curvature, unspecified
  • Fundus
  • Esophagus, unspecified
  • Esophagus
  • Descending colon
  • Colon, unspecified
  • Colon
  • Caecum
  • Body Cardia
  • Ascending colon
  • Appendix
  • Angiosarcoma of liver
  • Abdominal part Cervical part

Some of the most common conditions covered by the VCF today are:

Digestive System

  • Upper third
  • Transverse colon
  • Thoracic part
  • Stomach, unspecified
  • Stomach
  • Splenic flexure
  • Specified parts of peritoneum
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Retroperitoneum and peritoneum
  • Retroperitoneum
  • Rectum
  • Rectosigmoid junction
  • Pylorus
  • Pyloric antrum
  • Peritoneum, unspecified
  • Overlapping lesion of digestive system
  • Overlapping lesion of colon
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other specified carcinomas of liver
  • Other sarcomas of liver
  • Other and ill-defined digestive organs
  • Middle third
  • Lower third
  • Liver, unspecified
  • Liver cell carcinoma
  • Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Lesser curvature, unspecified
  • Intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma
  • Intestinal tract, part unspecified
  • Ill-defined sites within the digestive system
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Hepatic flexure
  • Greater curvature, unspecified
  • Fundus
  • Esophagus, unspecified
  • Esophagus
  • Descending colon
  • Colon, unspecified
  • Colon
  • Caecum
  • Body Cardia
  • Ascending colon
  • Appendix
  • Angiosarcoma of liver
  • Abdominal part Cervical part

Eye and Orbit

  • Retina
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Orbit
  • Lacrimal gland and duct
  • Eye, unspecified
  • Eye and Adnexa
  • Cornea
  • Conjunctiva
  • Ciliary body
  • Choroid

Male and Female Breast Cancer

  • Upper-outer quadrant
  • Upper-inner quadrant
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Nipple and areola
  • Lower-outer quadrant
  • Lower-inner quadrant
  • Central portion
  • Breast
  • Auxiliary tail Breast, unspecified

Female Reproductive Organs

Head and Neck

  • Waldeyer’s ring
  • Vestibule
  • Ventral surface
  • Vallecula
  • Uvula
  • Upper lip, inner aspect
  • Upper
  • Tonsillar pillar (anterior/posterior)
  • Tonsillar fossa
  • Tonsil, unspecified
  • Tonsil
  • Tongue, unspecified
  • Supraglottis
  • Superior wall
  • Submandibular gland
  • Sublingual gland
  • Subglottis
  • Sphenoidal
  • Soft palate
  • Retromolar area
  • Posterior wall
  • Postcricoid region
  • Piriform sinus
  • Pharynx, unspecified
  • Parotid gland
  • Palate, unspecified
  • Palate
  • Overlapping lesion of lip, oral cavity, and pharynx
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other and unspecified parts of the tongue
  • Other and unspecified part of the mouth
  • Other and unspecified major salivary glands
  • Other and ill-defined conditions in the lip, oral cavity, and pharynx
  • Oropharynx, unspecified
  • Oropharynx
  • Nasopharynx, unspecified
  • Nasopharynx
  • Nasal cavity
  • Mouth, unspecified
  • Maxillary
  • Major salivary gland, unspecified
  • Lower lip, inner aspect
  • Lower
  • Lip, unspecified, inner aspect
  • Lip, unspecified
  • Lip
  • Lingual tonsil
  • Lateral wall
  • Lateral
  • Larynx, unspecified
  • Larynx
  • Laryngeal cartilage
  • Hypopharynx, unspecified
  • Hypopharynx
  • Hard palate Overlapping lesion
  • Gum, unspecified
  • Gum
  • Glottis
  • Frontal
  • Floor of mouth
  • External upper lip
  • External lower lip
  • External lip, unspecified
  • Ethmoidal
  • Dorsal surface
  • Commissure
  • Cheek mucosa
  • Branchial cleft
  • Border
  • Base of tongue
  • Aryepiglottic fold, hypopharyngeal aspect
  • Anterior wall
  • Anterior two-thirds, part unspecified
  • Anterior surface of epiglottis
  • Anterior Floor, unspecified
  • Accessory, unspecified
  • Accessory sinuses

Respiratory System

  • Upper respiratory tract, part unspecified
  • Upper lobe, bronchus or lung
  • Trachea
  • Posterior mediastinum
  • Pleura
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs
  • Middle lobe, bronchus or lung
  • Mediastinum, part unspecified
  • Main bronchus
  • Lower lobe, bronchus or lung
  • Ill-defined sites within the respiratory system
  • Heart, mediastinum, and pleura
  • Heart
  • Bronchus or lung, unspecified
  • Bronchus and lung
  • Anterior mediastinum
  • Skin (Melanoma and non-Melanoma)

Upper limb, including shoulder

  • Trunk
  • Skin, unspecified
  • Scrotum
  • Scalp and neck
  • Overlapping malignant melanoma of skin
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other malignant neoplasms of skin
  • Other and unspecified parts of face
  • Malignant melanoma of skin
  • Lower limb, including hip
  • Lip
  • Eyelid, including canthus
  • Ear and external auricular canal

Soft Tissue

  • Upper limb, including shoulder
  • Unspecified
  • Trunk, unspecified
  • Thorax
  • Peripheral nerves and autonomic nervous system
  • Pelvis
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other connective and soft tissue
  • Lower limb, including hip
  • Head, face, and neck
  • Abdomen
  • Thyroid
  • Thyroid gland

Urinary System

  • Urinary organ, unspecified
  • Urethra
  • Ureteric orifice
  • Ureter
  • Urachus
  • Trigone
  • Renal pelvis
  • Prostate
  • Posterior wall
  • Paraurethral gland
  • Overlapping lesion
  • Other and unspecified urinary organs
  • Lateral wall
  • Kidney
  • Dome
  • Bladder, unspecified
  • Bladder
  • Anterior wall Bladder neck


  • Unspecified
  • Pleura
  • Peritoneum
  • Pericardium
  • Other sites
  • Mesothelioma

Rare Cancers:

This includes, but is not limited to, malignant neoplasms of the:

  • Vulva, vagina, and cervix uteri (invasive only)Thymus
  • Small intestine
  • Placenta
  • Penis and testis
  • Pancreas
  • Myeloid neoplasms, including myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms, myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms, and myeloid malignancies associated with eosinophilia and abnormalities of growth factor receptors derived from platelets or fibroblasts
  • Meninges, brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, and other parts of central nervous system
  • Malignant neuroendocrine neoplasm, including carcinoid tumors
  • Gallbladder and other parts of biliary tract
  • Breast among men
  • Bone and articular cartilage
  • Anus and anal canal
  • Adrenal gland and other endocrine glands and related structures

The Aerodigestive or Non-Cancerous Conditions

These are just a few of the many different types of 9/11-related illnesses and cancers that qualify for coverage in the World Trade Center Health Program and in many cases, the Victim Compensation Fund.

Cancers Related to 9/11

After nearly two decades, many Americans think about September 11th as a distant memory. However, for thousands of victims and survivors present near Ground Zero when the Twin Towers fell, the trauma continues. Since the deadly terrorist attacks, over 100,000 people have suffered from a variety of terminal cancers, long-term illnesses, and chronic respiratory conditions.

VCF Program Statistics

Survivor Compensation Determinations

Source: https://www.vcf.gov/sites/vcf/files/media/document/2020-06/VCFMonthlyReportMay2020.pdf/

The responders and survivors present when the Twin Towers fell were exposed to many dangerous chemicals and carcinogens. Some of those included asbestos, silica, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, and heavy metals. Every person in lower Manhattan on 9/11 or at any time during the year after was exposed to hundreds of carcinogens. Years later, the Victim Compensation Fund Claim still gets inundated with claims.

In addition, those responsible for the cleanup, including those who joined the Bucket Brigade, were exposed to long-term exposure to those carcinogens.

  • In 2011, studies reported a modest increase in cancer for New York City firefighters involved in the World Trade Center attacks.
  • In 2013, a study showed a large increase in cancer in first responders between 2001 and 2008.
  • In 2016, a study showed a direct increase in the number and types of cancer for both responders and survivors.  First responders and downtown residents, workers, and students developed cancer at much higher rate than the rest of the non-exposed population.
  • In 2020, a study focused on the 29,000 members of the WTC Health Program known as the General Responder Cohort. This group contains mostly police and recovery workers. The data in the study showed that responders had more than double the risk of getting thyroid cancer. The risk of getting leukemia was 41 percent higher and the risk of prostate cancer was 25 percent higher.

Much of the research in the area of 9/11-related cancers is conducted by the World Trade Center Health Program. They focus research on identifying biomarkers of exposure, determining the risk factors, and making improvements in diagnosis and treatment. They not only support cancer-research, but they provide health care and monitoring for those individuals affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

As of 2020, the WTC Health Program enrolled and provided care for over 100,000 responders and survivors. Of those enrolled in the program, over 15,000 are cancer patients. They cover people with cancer under the age of 20, as well as over 300 common cancers and numerous rare cancers.

The 15 most common cancers in the WTC Health Program are:

  1. Non-melanoma skin cancer
  2. Prostate cancer
  3. Breast cancer
  4. Melanoma
  5. Lymphoma
  6. Thyroid
  7. Lung
  8. Kidney
  9. Leukemia
  10. Colon
  11. Bladder
  12. Myeloma
  13. Oropharynx
  14. Rectum
  15. Lip

In both first responders and survivors, the rate of prostate and skin melanoma was the same. First responders developed a higher incidence of thyroid cancer. Survivors had a higher incidence of both breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The top three cancers for responders included:

  1. Non-melanoma skin
  2. Prostate
  3. Melanoma skin

The top three cancers for survivors included:

  1. Prostate
  2. Breast
  3. Non-melanoma skin

Patients with a 9/11-related cancer can enroll in the WTC Health Program to become eligible for a lifetime of healthcare treatment for their cancer, as well as prescription benefits. The WTC Health Program offers multiple Clinical Centers of Excellence that can provide cancer treatment and benefits.

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Illnesses Related to 9/11

Overall, individuals present in the exposure zone after 9/11 are at an increased risk of suffering from a variety of respiratory illnesses and chronic diseases. In fact, 241 NYPD officers lost their lives after battling 9/11-related illnesses in the 18 years since the attack. This is 10 times more than the actual attack killed on September 11, 2001.

In July 2019, New York lost its 200th firefighter from a World Trade center-related illness. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York now lists over 220 9/11-related FDNY deaths. Although cancer is a prominent cause of those deaths, there are also higher rates of cardiovascular disease among first responders and survivors.

Research published in JAMA Network Open found that firefighters who were at Ground Zero on the day of the attack were 44 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than firefighters who arrived the next day.

9/11 Related Illnesses and Students

Students going to school in the area in the days and months following the attack also suffer from more illnesses and disabling breathing conditions. From college students attending Pace University and the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to high school students at various NYC public schools, many have been diagnosed with leukemia, lung conditions, and PTSD.

This is because they were present the day the World Trade Centers fell. Like everyone near Ground Zero that day, they breathed in the toxic mix of dust and contaminants. Then, just a month later on October 9, 2001, school officials reopened the schools, and students in Lower Manhattan returned. The city promised parents that safety precautions were taken and that their kids would be safe.

However, school officials did not clean out vents in many of the buildings. Fires burned day and night at Ground Zero and toxic debris removed just outside the schools during the day, including right outside Stuyvesant High School. As a result, students breathed in a mix of toxic air and dust for months. In the summer of 2002, school officials found elevated lead levels in the ventilation system.

Nearly 20,000 children went to school below Houston Street on September 11, 2001. Those children now grapple with the concept that they may face life-long and potentially fatal diseases because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many now face gastroesophageal reflux disease, asthma, and respiratory conditions in their twenties and thirties. Some students now suffer from PTSD as well. Under the WTC Health Program and the VCF, these young adults may be entitled to free healthcare and compensation for the next 70 years.

9/11 Illnesses and Survivors

The majority of the members in the WTC Health Program and the VCF are responders, despite the fact that there were over 300,000 downtown area residents, workers, and students as compared to 90,000 responders. In fact, of the program’s 100,000 members, only 20 percent are survivors — the residents, workers, and students. There is a general lack of awareness in the survivor community of that since after they breathed the very same toxic air as the responders and have been diagnosed with the same breathing conditions and same types of cancers as the first responders, that they too are eligible for free lifetime healthcare and the payment of compensation.

Most survivors in the area do not realize that they can receive help and potential compensation because of their general proximity to the World Trade Centers during 9/11. Of those survivors, only 791 are under the age of 35. However, these individuals suffer from a variety of ailments, diseases, and conditions. Most of these illnesses include aerodigestive conditions, mental health issues, cancers, and respiratory issues.

Survivors — the residents, workers and students — can apply for coverage and benefits without worry that they might reduce compensation for responders. The program contains funds and medical care for all who suffer and collecting the benefits you are entitled to does not reduce the benefits first responders receive. As such, it is important to evaluate your case carefully and determine if you can receive a lifetime of medical monitoring, healthcare, and possible compensation. An experienced 9/11 attorney can help you through this difficult process and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.

You Gave All—and You Deserve Help Now

After 9/11 many first responders including police officers and firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue victims, put out fires, and protect the citizens of New York. Now, those first responders suffer from a variety of chronic and terminal illnesses, such as stage four cancer.

In the days following the attacks, construction workers, EMTs, truck drivers, and volunteers removed debris from the wreckage, cleaned up the streets, transported toxic waste, and cleaned up the city. They too now suffer from life-threatening cancers and chronic disabling breathing conditions.

On September 11, 2001, and in the months following, students, residents, and workers in Lower Manhattan kept the economy afloat. They went back to work, studied, and lived in the toxic soup area below Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. They helped New York get back on its feet in more ways than they realize. Now, they too suffer from a wide range of chronic disabling breathing conditions, long-term illnesses, and cancers.

You helped New York during the tragedy of 9/11. Now it is your turn to receive help. Call a 9/11 attorney today to begin collecting the medical benefits and compensation you deserve.

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