The air polluted with toxins by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan has caused breast cancer in hundreds of downtown workers, downtown residents and first-responders.

This tragedy, now about 17 years after the attacks, is getting worse. New cases of 9/11-caused breast cancer are being diagnosed by the doctors at the World Trade Center Health Program just about every day, with almost 400 cases of 9/11-caused breast cancer diagnosed so far.

The doctors at the WTC Health Program have certified that the 9/11 toxic air caused 175 first responders to develop breast cancer. The current rate of breast cancer in the 9/11 “survivors” (downtown NYC residents, students, and lower Manhattan workers) is even more devastating: 221 confirmed cases of breast cancer caused by breathing the air in downtown NYC in the many months after the 9/11 attacks. Breast cancer is reported by the WTCHP as one of the most common cancers found in 9/11 first responders and downtown residents, students, and area workers.

The peer-reviewed scientific studies confirm that breast cancer – in first responders, residents, workers, and downtown students – is directly related to 9/11. The link between the poisons in the environment in the many months after 9/11 was first officially recognized by the federal government in 2012, when Dr. John Howard from the Centers for Disease Control accepted the exhaustive findings in a report that scientifically documented the medical evidence and studies showing that the PCBs in the Downtown NYC air were endocrine disruptors, contributing to the risk of breast cancer.

Unfortunately, with the 9/11 disaster being almost 20 years ago, many women (or girls in school at the time in lower Manhattan), do not make the connection between their being in downtown NYC during or after the attacks and the diagnosis of breast cancer many years later. The studies show that, in fact, the diagnosis of breast cancer in the 9/11-exposed population is often not expected to develop until many years after the exposure to the poisons in the air after the 9/11 attacks.

But it’s not too late. The World Trade Center Health Program provides lifetime world-class cancer care for women who suffered from breast cancer after the 9/11 attacks. For example, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is an in-network provider with the WTCHC, providing fully paid and covered lifetime cancer care for 9/11 first responders as well as 9/11 downtown residents, workers, and students who have breast or any number of over 70-plus types of 9/11-caused cancers. In addition to lifetime healthcare, tax-free compensation is also available to breast cancer survivors (even if now cancer-free) by the federal-funded September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.