September 11, 2001, was a day of fear and apprehension and the first day of a significant environmental disaster. While we reeled from 2,996 deaths in New York City, the Pentagon, and the crash site at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, from these terrorist attacks, another bomb slowly built up in the systems of first responders and survivors - pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer and 9/11 strongly link, with first responders and survivors being more likely than the general population to develop the condition. Even worse, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose early. In many cases, cancer has metastasized throughout the body by the time you receive a diagnosis, dropping survival chances significantly.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer due to ground zero exposure, you do not have to continue this fight alone. The 9/11 cancer lawyers at Cannata, Hendele & Cannata offer immense experience handling September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claims and getting results.
Call 1-888-982-8428 today to discuss your pancreatic cancer claim with an attorney.
9/11 and Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. It accounts for three percent of all cancer diagnoses and about seven percent of cancer deaths, with men being more likely to develop it than women.
Sadly, pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate, especially if not caught early. An early diagnosis increases the chances of successful surgical removal of the tumor, making it possible to survive for up to five years after surgery. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of cancer patients receive a diagnosis and treatment at the right time. Over half of pancreatic cancer patients discover their condition after it has spread to a distant body part, which is often too late.
As the most challenging aspect of pancreatic cancer is detection, late diagnoses has reduced the five-year survival rate to only three percent, influencing the death rate to slowly increase from 2000 going forward.
Cancer is the third most common certified health condition treated in the World Trade Center Health Program. Types of cancer diagnosed so far include breast cancer, lymphoma, skin cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, myeloma, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer. Those who are lucky enough to avoid cancer may face a lifetime of respiratory illnesses, including asthma and chronic sinus issues.
Compared to the national population, pancreatic cancer is more prevalent in WTC responders and survivors. Due to this link between pancreatic cancer and exposure to 9/11 toxins (including carcinogens and asbestos), anyone present in the Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, may be eligible for compensation under the WTC Victim Relief Fund (VRF.)
As of September 30, 2021, first responders filed 15,000 cancer claims, and survivors filed 10,000 claims. Since debris from the twin towers spread throughout NYC, claimants arise from many areas, including Manhattan, lower Manhattan, and the Bronx, and appear from many backgrounds, including recovery workers, residents, and those serving in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and police department (NYPD.)
Common Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer & Treatment
The pancreas is an abdominal gland that helps digest protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It is essential for regulating blood sugar and turning glucose into energy.
Early symptoms are nearly undetectable since it is deep in your abdominal cavity. That is why early diagnosis is uncommon. Most people do not realize they have pancreatic cancer until they face serious blood sugar issues or cancer affects the stomach and liver.
Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Yellowing skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Light-colored stools
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- New diabetes diagnosis or current diabetes condition becomes more difficult to control
- Blood clots
Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments. If cancer spreads to other organs, it is more challenging to treat. When choosing treatment options, doctors discuss your age, other health issues, the likelihood of success, and the extent of cancer.
Specific treatment options may include:
- Surgery. Surgery includes possible curative procedures and palliative treatment and is an option if your doctor finds your diagnosis early and can remove the tumor. Palliative surgery addresses symptoms and complications, including blocked bile ducts or intestines. Those treatments do not intend to cure cancer, only alleviate its effects.
- Ablation/Embolization. Ablative treatments destroy tumors with extreme heat or cold. A standard treatment for small tumors, embolization uses substances that block blood flow to the cancer cells, killing them. These treatments are most common when pancreatic cancer spreads to other organs, especially the liver.
- Radiation Therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to target and kill cancer cells. The treatment follows surgery to prevent cancer from returning. If a tumor is too large for surgical removal, radiation combined with chemotherapy may shrink the tumor and make surgical treatments easier and more likely to succeed.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy refers to anti-cancer drugs administered intravenously or orally. Before surgery, it may be an option to reduce the tumor size or kill any cancer cells that could not be removed in surgery or seen on imaging tests. Those facing advanced stages of the disease may choose chemotherapy to kill cancer cells when surgery isn’t an option.
- Targeted Therapy. Research discovered new drugs that prevent pancreatic cancer cell growth. Unlike chemotherapy drugs that hit the entire body, these treatments directly target cancer cells. They frequently work when chemotherapy proves ineffective.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy stimulates the patient’s immune system to find and attack cancer cells. The medication keeps the cancer cells from producing checkpoints, proteins that keep the immune system from attacking them. This treatment holds significant promise for reducing cancer, and it is appropriate when cancer advances beyond surgery, has recurred or metastasized.
- Pain Control. Pancreatic cancer causes pain in the abdomen and back. Many patients benefit from opioids and other pain control medication. Some procedures reduce pain and the need for opioids, including cutting or injecting alcohol into nerves near the pancreas.
VCF Compensation for 9/11-related Pancreatic Cancer
If your pancreatic cancer diagnosis arose from 9/11-related exposure, you might be eligible for government programs created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The WTC Health Program covers health care expenses from exposure to toxic dust and other carcinogens released during the attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects data on the program and administers it.
Another program, the WTC Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), provides payments to those inside the New York Exposure Zone, the Pentagon crash site, and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site. The VCF is not limited to first responders like firefighters or police officers. People who lived, worked, or went to school in the exposure zone are eligible, as well as those who worked and volunteered with recovery and rescue efforts.
If injury or illness from exposure resulted in death, survivors are eligible for these payments too. To learn more about the Victim Compensation Fund, click here.
You may receive compensation for economic and noneconomic losses when you file a claim. Economic losses are documentable objective losses like medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, and diminished earning capacity.
Noneconomic damages are subjective and vary between individuals. They include mental anguish, diminished physical capacity, inconvenience associated with pancreatic cancer and its treatments, and loss of enjoyment or quality of life.
While we do not promise a minimum compensation amount from the VCF, overall results from claims are promising. The compensation varies based on the level of illness and quality of life impacts. Families of those who passed away from 9/11-related illnesses can receive multi-million dollar settlements. For those facing disability, payments range between $250,000 and $1.5 million.
How a 9/11 Victim Compensation Lawyer Can Help
Although you may be tempted to file your VCF claim without legal assistance, chances are it will not go quickly for you. The VCF process is long, technical, and failure to complete forms correctly will delay the claim. You may also risk having your claim denied for not presenting the elements of your case effectively.
Besides, if you are ill with pancreatic cancer, you have a battle ahead of you. If you care for a loved one with this disease, you likely have to manage work, family, and your household on top. The focus needs to be on treatment and hopeful recovery. It is not a time to deal with paperwork, government forms, and trying to convince officials that you require compensation.
That is where we can help. You receive legal advocacy and guidance when you consult with a VCF lawyer at Cannata, Hendele & Cannata. We file these claims every day and know what to expect. We know how to avoid delays and denials, and if there is a denial, we know how to proceed from there.
With our decades of experience and proven results, you can trust our lawyers to:
- Accurately determine your eligibility
- Help you file a VCF claim and submit the correct documents
- Maximize your award payout
- Navigate any appeals in case of denial
We offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose by merely investigating the possibility of a successful VCF claim.
Discuss Your 9/11-related Pancreatic Cancer Claim with a WTC VCF Lawyer Today
Pancreatic cancer is a deadly and challenging disease that wreaks havoc on you and your loved ones. If you believe you developed it from 9/11-related exposure, you may be eligible for VCF compensation. Even if you applied already and received a denial, your claim deserves a second look by our skilled VCF lawyers.
Our attorneys and staff members are thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the VCF and worked at the forefront in renewing the fund. We lobbied in Washington before Congress established the fund because we witnessed the health effects of 9/11 on first responders and others who lived, worked, and went to school in the Exposure Zone.
Additionally, throughout its inception, we took the lead in working with the VCF to analyze their original policies and urge changes when necessary.
Avoid waiting too long to file your claim. The VCF has strict deadlines, and you don’t want to miss your chance.
Call Cannata, Hendele & Cannata today at 1-888-982-8428 to discuss your pancreatic cancer claim and determine your VCF eligibility.