Exposure to the 9/11 toxins put 9/11 responders and downtown residents/workers at high risk for developing non-melanoma 9/11 skin cancer. The Zadroga Act covers WTC Fund related skin cancers and makes appropriate tax free pain and suffering awards..
Non-melanoma skin cancer (including basal and squamous cell) is covered under the 9/11 Zadroga Act for both medical care under the World Trade Center Health Program, and for victim compensation eligibility under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Non-melanoma skin cancer is, by far, the most common type of cancer “certified” by the World Trade Center Health Program as caused by exposure to the 9/11 toxins that hung over lower Manhattan (and anywhere where the 9/11-related debris was handled). The latest WTCHP report documents close to 2,000 responders and survivors who have been certified as eligible for free lifetime treatment and cash compensation for non-melanoma skin cancer.
Recognizing Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer is extremely important, as it can lead to aggressive and proactive treatment to prevent the spread of the disease.
· Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – the first sign of BCC is often a small pink or reddish lump on normal skin. This lump is often also pearly and dome shaped, but it can vary in shape and in color. It is a very slow growing tumor. Over time, the lump can bleed or crust over. If left untreated, the BCC can spread to nearby structures and damage them. This is especially true if the BCC is located near the nose or ear.
· Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – the first sign of SCC is a small crusty or scaly area of skin on the face, lips or ears. Sometimes it grows into a lump or it may even look like a wart. As the SCC grows, it can also damage nearby structures and completely erode them. It can also spread to other parts of the body, but this is rare.
Skin cancer is diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the tissue. Once the tissue is examined under a microscope and a diagnosis of skin cancer is made, a doctor can help you determine what additional testing you will need. If he or she suspects that your cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, your doctor may decide to order X-rays, blood tests, or MRI scans.
Treating Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer at WTC Health Program “Clinical Centers of Excellence”
The physicians at the WTCHP “Clinical Centers of Excellence” have specialists to diagnose and provide treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer. There are numerous ways non-melanoma can be treated, especially if it is caught early. In many cases, the cancerous tumor can simply be extracted and removed from the body and the normal skin stitched together. In other cases, cryosurgery is recommended where the cancer cells are frozen with a liquid nitrogen treatment. In some cases, chemotherapy creams or photodynamic therapy is recommended. When you are diagnosed, your physician will be able to determine the best course of treatment for your cancer.
General Outlook for Patients with Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
The good news is that almost all BCCs and SCCs can be treated and cured. Since the rate of metastasis is low with these types of cancer, the localized tumor can usually be removed and the cancerous cells killed with simple operations or techniques. However, it is important to note that individuals with a history of BCCs and SCCs have a greater chance of developing another one in the future.
WTC skin cancer the most common 9/11-related cancer treated at the WTCHP Clinical Centers of Excellence. The WTC attorneys at Turley Hansen have represented numerous clients with non-melanoma skin cancer before the WTC Victim Compensation Fund. Should you have questions about medical care or an award for Non-melanoma skin cancer from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please call us at 1-855-982-4636.
You or your partner should keep a close eye on you skin!