9/11-Related Prostate Cancer

By Troy Rosasco

You Can Get Treatment and Compensation

9/11-Related Prostate Cancer lawyer9/11 caused prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is, by far, the most common cancer found in men who were first responders or who lived, worked, went to school, or were otherwise present in lower Manhattan or during the many months after 9/11. Since 2001, there have been 2,895 confirmed cases of prostate cancer in first responders linked to 9/11. There have been 1,386 confirmed cases of 9/11 caused prostate cancer in non-responders — the downtown workers, residents, students, and others. Hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to toxins released into the air as a result of the attacks, resulting in myriad cancers and other serious health issues, including prostate cancer.

A study on the prevalence of prostate cancer in 9/11 first responders suggests that the toxic exposure that people endured triggered chronic inflammation and changed the way genes operate. This is why medical professionals are seeing an increase in the prevalence of cancers such as prostate cancer in 9/11 survivors.

When the study was published, more than 2,200 first responders at the 9/11 sites were diagnosed with prostate cancer, along with more than 700 other survivors. The men who participated in the study who were diagnosed with prostate cancer after 9/11 toxic exposure had cells that were more sensitive to cholesterol, which is often a red flag for aggressive prostate cancer.

Lab studies that subjected rats to some of the remaining World Trade Center dust also revealed cells in the animals that were sensitive to cholesterol, further suggesting a link between the dust plume and the increased incidence of prostate cancer that is more common and aggressive among 9/11 first responders.

If you were at one of the 9/11 sites on the day of the terrorist attacks or at any time afterward up to July 31, 2002, two federal programs can provide you with medical care as well as compensation for the pain and suffering and any economic losses that your cancer or other illness had on your life. An experienced 9/11 health and compensation attorney from Hansen & Rosasco can help you to understand if you qualify for these programs and can assist you with applying or filing a claim.

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is among the most common types of cancer, with only skin cancer resulting in more diagnoses each year. Around one in every nine men will experience prostate cancer in his lifetime, with about 60 percent of these cases diagnosed in men over the age of 65. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind only lung cancer. About one man out of 41 in the U.S. will die as a result of prostate cancer.

Despite this high death rate, this cancer tends to be highly treatable. Currently, there are more than 3.1 million men in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in life but are still alive today. Prostate cancer, when it is discovered early and has not had the chance to spread to other organs, has a five-year survival rate of nearly 100 percent.

The Prostate’s Functions

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate to allow the body to eliminate urine. The primary purpose of this gland is to make seminal fluid, which carries the sperm from the testes and other body fluids out of the body through the urethra during ejaculation. The prostate uses male hormones—known as androgens, and including testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)—to trigger and maintain sex characteristics and reproduction.

Once prostate cancer has developed, the cancerous cells feed on the androgens and use them as fuel for growth. This is why one of the common medical treatments for prostate cancer is a therapy that reduces the level of male hormones and the cancer’s ability to grow.

In most cases, prostate cancer is slow-growing and is detected before it has the chance to spread to other organs. However, there are more aggressive forms of the disease that require more urgent treatment.

Symptoms of Disease

In the early stages of prostate cancer, it is not unusual for the sufferer to be symptom-free.

However, as the disease progresses, the following symptoms can emerge:

  • Dull pain in the lower pelvic area.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Difficulty urinating, including a weak flow, or pain and burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
  • Loss of weight and appetite.
  • Bone pain.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Most prostate cancers are discovered through the use of two screening tests, which are regularly performed at annual physicals for men who are at risk of the disease or are older.

Those screenings include:

  • PSA blood test: The prostate-specific antigen blood test is commonly used to screen men for prostate cancer by measuring the levels of the antigen in the blood. PSA is a protein that is made only by the prostate and prostate cancers. A low level of PSA is a sign of a healthy prostate, while levels that have rapidly increased indicate a problem. Prostate cancer is most commonly the cause of elevated PSA levels, though other prostate diseases can also be the culprit.
  • DRE: Digital rectal examination is another screening used to detect problems with the prostate. For this exam, the doctor places a lubricated, gloved finger inside of the rectum to feel for an abnormal shape or thickness to the prostate.

Once prostate cancer screenings detect an abnormality, doctors may order:

  • Transrectal ultrasound: For this exam, a small probe—about the size and shape of a cigar—is inserted into the rectum and sound waves are used to create a picture of the gland so your doctor can examine it for size and shape abnormalities.
  • MRI: Your medical team will use this digital scan for a more detailed picture of the prostate. Often, a biopsy is performed during this procedure.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy extracts a sample of tissue from the prostate that can then be examined in the lab to look for cancer cells.

Side Effects of Prostate Cancer and Its Treatments

Because of the prostate’s location, it is not unusual for both the cancer and the treatments to cause side effects, such as:

  • Urinary dysfunction, which ranges from minor urine leakage to full loss of bladder control. Irritative voiding systems might also be involved, including frequent urination, increased urinary urgency, and painful urination.
  • Bowel dysfunction resulting from the surgery to remove the prostate, including rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and increased bowel urgency.
  • Erectile dysfunction, which is the most common side effect suffered by men who are being treated for prostate cancer due to the delicate nature of the nerves and blood vessels that cause an erection to occur. These nerves and blood vessels can be injured both by the disease itself as well as during surgery.
  • Infertility, which results from the removal of the prostate and the seminal vesicles during surgery. Without these seminal vesicles, sperm has no way to exit the body to reach the woman’s egg for fertilization.
  • Hormone therapy side effects, which lowers a man’s testosterone level and prevents testosterone from performing its usual functions. This can result in hot flashes, decreased sexual desire, loss of bone density, fatigue, increased risk of diabetes and heart attacks, weight gain, anemia, memory loss, and other side effects.
  • Radiation side effects, which can result in temporary urinary problems such as an increased urgency with urination, as well as long-term problems such as inflammation of the rectum or bladder, urinary or rectal bleeding, narrowing of the rectum or urethra, chronic diarrhea or increased urinary frequency, or the development of an ulcer in the rectum.
  • Surgery side effects, including urinary incontinence and loss of sexual function.
  • Chemotherapy side effects, including a fever and a dangerously low white blood cell count.

Many of the side effects associated with prostate cancer and treatment will subside after a few weeks or months.

However, seek immediate medical attention if you are undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and suffer:

  • Inability to urinate or empty the bladder.
  • Constipation lasting for more than four days.
  • Excessive diarrhea that cannot be controlled.
  • Excessive or continuous rectal bleeding or blood in the urine.
  • An erection lasting more than 4 hours or an increasingly cold and bluish color to the penis after using erectile dysfunction medication.

Obtaining Assistance for Your 9/11-Related Prostate Cancer

Following the terrorist attacks in 2001, many of those exposed to the toxins at the attack sites would need assistance with medical care and expenses related to their illnesses and diseases, including cancer. This need has become more urgent as time passes as cancers caused by that toxic exposure begin being diagnosed due to the physical changes that were first triggered by toxic exposure many years ago that led to a cancer diagnosis over the past twenty years.

In 2011, the James Zadroga Health and Compensation was authorized by the federal government to provide medical care and monitoring of 9/11-related conditions through the WTC Health Program, and compensation for the monetary losses and pain and suffering that individuals have experienced as a result of 9/11-related conditions are provided by the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). These important programs have since been funded through October 2090.

WTC Health Program

The WTC Health Program provides medical care and monitoring of 9/11-related eligible conditions free of charge to those who agree to obtain their care through a provider and to receive their prescription medication through pharmacies that are affiliated with the program. To participate in the program, individuals must apply and show documentation proving that they were in an exposure area during the attacks or assisted with the cleanup efforts afterward as well as proof of a 9/11 eligible condition.

September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF)

Those who wish to file for compensation from VCF must first have their 9/11-related cancer or other eligible health condition certified by the WTC program. Filers must also register with the VCF either by July 29, 2021—if the WTC Health Program certified an eligible medical condition before July 29, 2019—or two years after the date that the WTC Health Program certified an eligible condition. Registration and actually filing a claim are two different actions, with different requirements and deadlines. Registration reserves the right to file a claim at any time by October 2090.

To file a claim with VCF, an individual must register with the program and provide proof of presence at an impacted disaster area during the dates of impact, among many other complicated legal steps.

Once the claim has been received, VCF will conduct a preliminary review to ensure that all required information is present. If it is discovered that some of the necessary documentation has not been provided, the claim will be placed in an inactive status, the filer will be informed of the missing information, and the individual will have 60 days from the date of the letter to supply that information. Failure to do so within 60 days will result in the claim being denied.

Once all information has been received, the claim will go on to a more substantive review. Notices of decisions are currently rendered around 18 months after filing on a first-in, first-out basis. However, the program can expedite decisions in situations where an individual is terminally ill or has undue financial hardship because of their diagnosis.

How Hansen & Rosasco Can Help

Hansen & Rosasco - NYC 9/11 lawyersHansen & Rosasco has been helping the victims of 9/11 since 2001.

We have ample experience with the process of obtaining compensation from the federal 9/11 programs that can ensure:

  • The application process for the WTC Health Program and the registration and filing processes for VCF are followed completely.
  • All required documentation needed for approval into these programs has been provided, including drafting and having signed the required multiple affidavits and other records.
  • Assistance if your VCF claim or WTC Health Program application was denied.
  • Personal assistance with other funding sources, including applications for Social Security Disability benefits.

Let our compassionate 9/11 compensation attorneys help you get the medical care and financial assistance you need to fight your illness. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (855) 353-4907.

Posted under: 9/11 Cancers

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