9/11-Related Urinary Tract Cancers · Bladder Cancer · Kidney Cancer · Urethral Cancer

By Troy Rosasco

You Can Get Coverage for Your 9/11 Cancer

9/11-Related Urinary Tract Cancers lawyer9/11 caused cancer in the urinary system—the urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, and urethra—in many 9/11 first responders and residents, workers, and others who were downtown on 9/11 or during the many months afterward. As recently as 2019, Congress reported that almost 10,000 first responders, downtown workers, residents, students, and others have been diagnosed with cancer that is 9/11-related confirmed by epidemiology studies showing significantly higher rates of many cancers, including bladder cancer. The WTC Health Program reports that bladder cancer is among the 15 most common cancers certified as 9/11-related.

The terrorist attacks that took place in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, resulted in immediate death or severe injury to thousands of people. In the nearly twenty years that have followed, the devastation to life has continued with individuals who were exposed to the toxic ingredients found at the sites have contracted various forms of cancers and other ailments.

Many affected individuals worked at these sites as first responders or workers and volunteers involved in the cleanup operations. Hundreds of thousands of others simply lived, worked, or attended school in lower Manhattan.

If you were in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, or in the months that followed and you have since been diagnosed with bladder or other urinary system cancer or other 9/11-related illnesses, two federal programs provide benefits to help with your care and to compensate you for your pain and suffering and any financial losses that your illness had on you. If you have lost a loved one since 2001 due to any cancer or related illness, compensation may also be available.

About Urinary System Cancers

The urinary system includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Because the urethra runs through the center of the prostate in men, prostate cancer is commonly considered a urinary system cancer as well. The inside of the bladder and other organs of the urinary system are coated with a tissue known as urothelium. While urothelial neoplasms can occur in any urinary organs, more than 90 percent of them occur within the bladder.

Bladder Cancer

The urinary bladder is a hollow organ whose purpose is to store liquid waste—urine—from the kidneys until the body eliminates it through the urethra. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed and treated in the early stages, which improve the likelihood of a positive outcome for the patient. Unfortunately, however, this type of cancer often recurs and it is not unusual for those who have previously been treated for the disease to receive follow-up exams for many years after treatment has ended.

The symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

  • Blood in the urine, which can cause the urine to appear bright red or cola-colored, or may only be detectable in the lab.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Painful urination.
  • Back pain.

Diagnosing bladder cancer involves several procedures, including:

  • Cystoscopy: In this procedure, the doctor inserts a small, narrow tube through your urethra. This tube, called a cystoscope, has a lens that allows doctors to see the urethra and bladder and look for signs of disease.
  • Biopsy: Often during the cystoscopy, the doctor will use a special tool to remove a sample of cells from the bladder that can then be observed in the lab to look for cancer.
  • Urine cytology: In this procedure, a sample of urine is collected and observed in the lab for cancer cells.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as a CT scan, can be conducted to observe the urinary system for abnormalities.

Kidney Cancer

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist. The kidneys, in your lower abdomen on either side of the spine, clean your blood and make urine. Kidney cancer often does not present with symptoms until it is in its later stages.

However, symptoms can include:

  • Blood in the urine.
  • A lump in the side or abdomen.
  • Pain in your side that doesn’t go away.
  • Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss.
  • Fever that lasts for weeks and isn’t caused by a cold or an infection.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Swelling in the ankles and legs.
  • Anemia, a low level of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body. Anemia often results in fatigue or shortness of breath.

Unlike other types of cancer, doctors can usually diagnose kidney cancer without a biopsy, though the procedure may confirm the diagnosis. Kidney cancer is staged based on how much the disease has progressed.

The stages of kidney cancer are:

  • Stage 1: The tumor is 7 centimeters or smaller and cancerous cells are found on only one kidney.
  • Stage 2: There is a tumor larger than 7 centimeters and only one kidney is involved.
  • Stage 3: There is a tumor in the kidney and one nearby lymph node; there is a tumor in the kidney’s main blood vessel and also in a nearby lymph node; there is a tumor in the fatty tissue that surrounds the kidney and can also involve a nearby lymph node, or a tumor extends to major veins and other tissues.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread beyond the layer of fatty tissue surrounding the kidney and can also be in the lymph nodes; or the cancer has spread to other organs such as the bowel, pancreas, and lungs.

Prostate Cancer

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer to be experienced by men. The prostate is an organ that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The organ’s main function is to produce fluid that, along with sperm cells from the testicles and fluids from other glands, makes up semen. The strong muscles of the prostate also work to push semen into the urethra during ejaculation.

Although many individuals with prostate cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often caught early through routine screenings performed at men’s health exams.

The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:

  • A slow, weak urine flow or the need to urinate more often, particularly at night.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Difficulty getting an erection.
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting, due to the enlargement of the prostate.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. One in every nine men will be diagnosed with this form of cancer in his lifetime, and one in every 41 men will die of the disease. That said, most men do not die. In fact, more than 3.1 million men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer and have survived.

Renal Pelvis/Ureter Cancer

The ureters are long tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The renal pelvis is the top part of the ureter. Urine passes through the renal pelvis through the ureter and into the bladder. The renal pelvis and ureter are lined with transitional cells, which stretch and change shape without breaking apart. Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis occurs when cancer cells form in the renal pelvis or the ureter. As with many types of cancers, transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis often only produces noticeable symptoms in later stages.

These symptoms can include:

  • Blood in the urine.
  • A pain in the back that doesn’t go away.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Painful or frequent urination.

The tests used to diagnose this form of cancer include:

  • A physical exam and medical history. This includes checking for symptoms of the disease as well as taking note of past health habits, illnesses, and treatments. Individuals who were previously diagnosed with bladder cancer are at higher risk of developing the disease, as are those who were exposed to certain types of chemicals, including tobacco smoke.
  • Urinalysis, in which the patient’s urine is evaluated for abnormalities.
  • Ureteroscopy, in which a narrow tube with a lens is inserted into the ureter and renal pelvis to look for tumors or other indications of disease.
  • Urine cytology.
  • CT scan.
  • Ultrasound.
  • MRI.
  • Biopsy

Urethral Cancer

Of all the types of cancers that can attack the urinary system, urethral cancer is the rarest. The urethra is a hollow tube that allows urine to leave the body. In men, the organ is about 8 inches long and passes through the prostate to the end of the penis. In women, the urethra is about 1.5 inches long and opens to the outside just above the vaginal opening.

Symptoms often occur in the later stages of the disease and can include:

  • A lump or growth in the urethra that can be felt.
  • Difficulty urinating due to blockage in the urethra caused by tumor growth.
  • Pain or bleeding during urination.

Compensation and Medical Care After Your 9/11 Related Diagnosis

During the decade after 9/11, as the irrefutable medical studies piled up, it finally became apparent to federal lawmakers that many of the individuals who responded to the terrorist attacks or simply happened to live or work downtown needed  assistance to deal with the physical harms that they were enduring. This assistance came in the form of two programs—the WTC Health Program and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which were funded in 2011 by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Since 2011, those two programs were amended twice (in 2015 and 2019) and now have been authorized for funding by the federal government until October 2090.

The WTC Health Program provides medical care and monitoring of 9/11-related conditions to those who were in lower Manhattan on September 11th or at any time during the many months after up to July 31, 2002. There are no out-of-pocket costs for those who receive certification of a 9/11-related eligible condition such as bladder or other urinary system cancer, provided they use program-approved health care providers and pharmacies. The WTC Health Program has affiliated providers and pharmacies in every state in the nation, and the Program includes payment for inpatient treatment of the eligible condition.

The VCF provides compensation for wage loss, medical expenses, and non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering for those who were diagnosed with a condition eligible for certification through the WTC Health Program. Family members of an individual who died as the result of a 9/11-related cancer or other condition can recover wrongful death damages.

To file a VCF claim, individuals must have their condition certified by the WTC Health Program and must register to file a claim within two years of obtaining that certification. This certification does not have to take place before the individual has registered with the VCF, but must be obtained before a claim is deemed complete and then filed. Once registered, individuals then have until October 2090 to file a claim. If you were exposed to toxic dust related to the 9/11 attacks, you can even register to file a claim before you have been diagnosed to protect your rights in the future.

An attorney can greatly assist you during the process of applying for your WTC Health Program benefits or compensation through the VCF. Obtaining the benefits from these programs relies on the ability to produce the documentation needed to prove your presence at a 9/11 site during the eligible timeframes and also to prove your medical condition. Having someone who has experience with the process can ensure that you avoid delays in getting the benefits you deserve as well as avoiding having your VCF claim denied over a failure to provide the requested information.

Let Us Help

Hansen & Rosasco - NYC 9/11 lawyersThe experienced 9/11 compensation lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco have a proven track record of assisting the first responders and other survivors of 9/11 to obtain the compensation they deserve after they are diagnosed with 9/11-related conditions. In fact, 9/11 compensation claims are the entire focus of the firm, which ensures you that you are getting not only experienced help but also the specialized focus that these claims require. Let us help you apply for your benefits through the WTC Health Program and VCF.

We can also discuss benefits that are available from other federal programs, such as Social Security Disability, to ensure that you are getting all of the compensation that is available to you. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (855) 353-4907.

Posted under: 9/11 Cancers

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