Leukemia, Cancer of the Blood & Lymphoid Tissue

By Troy Rosasco

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september 11 Leukemia, Cancer of the Blood & Lymphoid Tissue lawyer9/11 caused leukemia, blood cancers, and lymphatic cancers in downtown workers, residents, first responders, and others. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan confirmed an elevated incidence of leukemia in first responders and other workers in the downtown area near the World Trade Center site on or during the many months after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.

The time from the exposure of the 9/11 toxins until the time of diagnosis, known as the latency period, “varies and can be quite long… This shows us that even after many years that the number of cancers is still increasing,” according to Dr. Henry Sacks, one of the researchers at Mt. Sinai. Thus, the findings suggest that, as more time passes from the attacks, the greater the number of 9/11-related cancers will be diagnosed.

Thousands of first responders, volunteers, and others were present at the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks that followed. Those individuals, who survived the initial attack, were exposed to hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, dioxins, and benzene, from the toxic dust at the site. In the nearly twenty years since the 9/11 attacks, many of those individuals have been diagnosed with cancer and sought benefits from two programs designed to assist survivors and first responders of 9/11.

Malignant neoplasms of the blood and lymphoid tissue have emerged as types of illnesses acquired by those exposed to the World Trade Center dust plume. Read on for more information about these conditions and how to obtain healthcare and compensation after being diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness.

Types of Cancer Affecting the Blood and Lymphoid Tissue

Several types of cancers can affect blood and lymphoid tissue. Below you will find general information about these conditions—known as malignant immunoproliferative diseases, and the more common types of cancers that affect the body’s lymphatic system.

Malignant Immunoproliferative Diseases

Malignant immunoproliferative disease is a term for the wide umbrella of diseases, such as myeloma, lymphocytic leukemia, and lymphoma, characterized by the rapid production of the immune system’s primary cells, as well as by excess production of immunoglobins.

Doctors classify immunoproliferative diseases into three categories:

  • Lymphoproliferative disorders, which are marked by excessive production of lymphocytes. Lymphoma, myeloma, and several types of leukemias are classified in this category.
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia, which are conditions in which there are higher than normal amounts of immunoglobulin in the blood serum.
  • Paraproteinemia, which is classified by higher than normal amounts of paraproteins in the blood. Many types of lymphomas and leukemias cause paraproteinemia.

While there are many symptoms of malignant immunoproliferative disease and some people have no discernible symptoms at all. However, general symptoms of these diseases can include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Anorexia.
  • A mass in the abdomen.

Imaging scans, including MRIs, X-rays, or CT scans, generally help diagnose these conditions. Another common diagnostic tool is a blood scan in which a blood sample is taken from the patient and studied under a microscope to look for levels of certain cells. This class of diseases has a varied amount of successful outcomes. Some blood and lymphoid tissue cancers are very aggressive and hard to treat, while others are manageable and offer a high success rate.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system consists of many parts that work together to balance body fluids and fight off infections, including:

  • Lymph nodes
  • Spleen
  • Thymus gland
  • Bone marrow

Lymphoma can occur in any of these organs, or in any part of the body that contains lymph tissue, including the adenoids, tonsils, and digestive tract. Many different types of cancers occur in the body’s lymphatic system.

The two main subtypes of lymphoma, however, include:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s Disease. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma begins when an infection-fighting cell develops a genetic mutation that tells the cell to begin multiplying rapidly. This results in large, abnormal white blood cells crowding the healthy white blood cells out of the lymphatic system.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, in which tumors develop from a type of white blood cell known as lymphocytes. This is the most common type of lymphoma, and in this condition, white blood cells do not go through the usual lifecycle in which old cells die as the body continues to make new cells to replace them. Instead, the old lymphocytes don’t die, but continue to grow and multiply, crowding the lymph nodes and causing them to swell.

The signs of lymphoma include:

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Persistent fatigue.
  • Night sweats.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Feeling full after only a small amount of food.
  • Shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Severe or frequent infections.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.

Leukemia

Like lymphoma, leukemia is a cancer that involves white blood cells. With this condition, white blood cells multiply, with the rapidly formed cells not working right and the proliferation of them crowding out the red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to the body’s organs and platelets, which help the blood to clot after an injury.

Leukemia is classed both by how fast it develops as well as the type of blood cells involved.

  • Acute leukemia occurs when most of the abnormal blood cells are immature and incapable of functioning normally. This causes the individual’s condition to worsen quickly.
  • Chronic leukemia occurs when the body is making abnormal cells, but some of them are still capable of carrying out normal functions, which results in a slower progression of the disease.
  • Lymphocytic leukemia involves bone marrow cells that become lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells.
  • Myelogenous leukemia involves marrow cells that create red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells.

These classifications make up the four main types of leukemia, which include:

  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), which is the most common form of childhood leukemia and occurs when abnormal cells spread to the lymph nodes and central nervous system.
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), which is the second-most common leukemia to be experienced by children and the most common type for adults.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), which is another common form of adult leukemia that often remains stable for years without treatment.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), which often presents in elderly individuals and often without symptoms. It is usually discovered through a routine blood test.

Often in the early stages, leukemia does not present with any readily identifiable symptoms.

However, as the disease progresses, sufferers may experience:

  • Anemia and related symptoms, including fatigue, pallor, and a general feeling of being unwell.
  • Bruising or bleeding easily, including frequent nosebleeds or blood in the urine or stool.
  • Being susceptible to infections such as a sore throat or pneumonia accompanied by a headache, low-grade fever, mouth sores, or a rash on the skin.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Discomfort under the lower left ribs, caused by inflammation of the spleen.
  • Very high white blood cell counts, which can produce symptoms such as visual problems, ringing in the ears, mental status changes, prolonged erection—which is known as priapism, and stroke.

Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that begins with a single abnormal white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help the body fight infection by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. This abnormal cell begins to multiply, eventually accumulating in the bone marrow and crowding out healthy cells. Rather than producing healthy antibodies, these abnormal cells produce proteins that result in health complications including damage to the kidneys and bones. As with many cancers, the symptoms of multiple myeloma often only appear in the later stages.

They can include:

  • Bone pain, particularly in the spine or chest, and thinner bones that break more easily.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Constipation.
  • Mental fogginess or confusion.
  • Fatigue.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs.

Multiple myeloma often progresses very slowly and does not need treatment in the early stages. There are currently many treatments available for the condition, including stem cell transplant, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunomodulators, proteasome inhibitors, and targeted drug therapy.

Seeking Compensation and Care for Your Blood and Lymphoid Tissue Cancer

If you were at the World Trade Center site or the sites of the other 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2001, or at any time through the end of 2001 to the summer of 2002 and you have been diagnosed with cancer of the blood or lymphoid tissue, two programs can provide medical treatment and monitoring and compensation for your illness.

WTC Health Program

Through the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the federal government provides benefits including medical treatment and monitoring of a 9/11-related eligible condition, such as malignant neoplasms of the blood and lymphoid tissue.

The program will cover the costs associated with medical care for applicants who:

  • Use healthcare facilities and pharmacies across the nation affiliated with the program.
  • Are seeking care for a condition that is certified through the program to be 9/11-related.
  • Have the treatment authorized or approved by the WTC Health Program before it is administered.

To obtain medical benefits via the WTC Health Program, you must apply for the benefits.

You can do so through the following steps:

  • Make sure you are eligible. You must either have been a first responder. But the WTC Health Program is not just for first responders: It also provides lifetime health benefits to “survivors” — anyone who lived, worked, or attended school in the affected area on September 11, 2001, or in the months that followed. You must have been in the area for a specified number of hours during the eligible time and were since diagnosed with a certified 9/11-related condition.
  • You must have documentation to prove that you were in the eligible area during the specific times permitted by the program and medical documentation of your condition.
  • Submit your application either online or by paper application by fax or mail.

September 11 Victim Compensation Fund

Like the WTC Health Program, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, known as VCF, is another federally-funded program that aims to assist individuals who experienced physical harm because of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. If you have obtained certification of your 9/11-related medical condition, you can apply for VCF compensation for wage loss, medical expenses, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

To apply, you must:

  • Get your condition certified as 9/11-related by the WTC Health Program.
  • Register for the VCF by the applicable deadline. While registering is not the same as filing a claim, it reserves your right to file a claim at some point before October 2090. The registration deadline for those who were certified by the WTC Health Program with an eligible condition before July 29, 2019, must register by July 29, 2021. Those who have not yet had their conditions certified by the program or who were certified after July 29. 2019 must register within two years of the latest date on which the WTC Health Program certifies your condition as 9/11-related. In deceased cases, the registration deadline is two years from the date of death.
  • File your claim and all required documentation before October 1, 2090.

Once we have submitted your claim, VCF will do a preliminary review to ensure that all of the required documentation is submitted. If any documentation is absent, the VCF will send a letter informing you of the missing information. The claim will be placed in inactive status until the documents are received. If the documents are not received within 60 days of the missing information letter, the claim will be denied.

Hansen & Rosasco - NYC 9/11 lawyersOnce all of the required information has been received, your claim will move on to a more substantive review. While it currently takes about two years for applicants to receive a final decision on benefits, if your case involves a terminal illness or a significant hardship, your attorney can help you with the process of requesting an expedited decision. Those who wish to obtain wrongful death compensation due to the loss of a loved one to a 9/11-related medical condition can also register to file a claim within two years after the date of their loved one’s death.

This entire process sounds easier than it is.

Let our experienced 9/11 compensation attorneys help you to obtain the benefits you deserve for your 9/11 related condition. For a free case evaluation, contact Hansen & Rosasco online or by calling (855) 353-4907.

Posted under: 9/11 Cancers

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