9/11 Cancer Types Covered by the WTC Health Program

Robert A. Grochow

Forement to understanding the road to medical care and monetary compensation is the relationship between the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. As separate entities, you can receive treatment for your illnesses from the Health Program, without cost if you have no other medical coverage. Monetary compensation can be awarded to you by the Victim Compensation Fund. Generally, certification of your illness by the Health Program as related to your exposure to the toxins is part of the process to receive compensation from the Fund. 

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were devastating events. To further add to the 9/11 tragedy, nearly 20 years later, thousands of people in New York and other areas of the country have been collectively diagnosed with numerous types of 9/11-related cancers. According to academics and air pollution experts, the dust from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings contained over 2,500 contaminants. Sadly, office workers, residents, students, construction workers  even people just ravelling through the area to work and the brave heroes and survivors exposed to toxic dust from 9/11 continue to be at high cancer risk with new diagnoses emerging on a regular basis.

The Gregory Cannata & Associates law firm is dedicated to ensuring that 9/11 victims receive the medical treatment and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer, please contact our New York City 9/11 attorneys today at 888-982-8428 or complete a contact request form today. Our lawyers are ready to assist you in applying to the two 9/11 programs, the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). If eligible, you’ll receive free lifetime access to the specially designed health program and a potential tax-free cash award.

What is WTC illness?

You did not have to be present on 9/11 to receive treatment or compensation.

On September 11, 2001, the entire country watched in shock as the terrorist attacks and the horrifying aftermath unfolded. Many of the people initially on the scene at the Twin Towers, including survivors, first responders, rescue workers, NYPD, and FDNY were subjected to the heartbreak that took place that day and were also exposed to numerous types of hazards.

Well into 2002, as the cleanup commenced on lower Manhattan, recovery workers and many others in the general population were routinely exposed to conditions that would ultimately lead to serious illnesses, including several types of cancers and lung disease. While some people’s illness emerged immediately, many WTC victims wouldn’t learn of their illnesses until years later. Over time,  it became apparent that people who were exposed to carcinogens on or after 9/11 had an increased risk of dozens of types of different cancers, including thyroid cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and myeloma, to name a few.

The types of illnesses suffered by 9/11 victims as outlined and approved by the World Trade Center Victim Fund include a variety of cancers, respiratory illnesses, and musculoskeletal disorders, and death as a result of any of these illnesses. 9/11 Cancer Types

Many years after the WTC fund was established, numerous types of cancers were added, and the list of cancer cases continues to grow. At this time, more than 75 different cancers are potentially WTCHP and VCF eligible. Malignant neoplasms are a primary cancer type; these are cancerous tumors or abnormal growths that spread to different parts of the body. Generally the cancers covered include both solid tumor cancers such as breast, thyroid, lung, prostate, brain cancers,  as well as blood cell and lymphoid cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma. 

Even if you don’t see your specific cancer listed, you should reach out to our firm as other cancers may be considered including a number of rare cancers. 

Childhood Cancers

Cancers diagnosed in a person under the age of 20 may be eligible to participate in one or both 9/11 programs.

Blood and Lymphoid Tissue Cancers

Numerous 9/11 victims are being diagnosed with blood and lymphoid tissue cancer, including but not limited to; leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

Types of specific cancers include;

  • Diffuse Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Follicular (Nodular)
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Hodgkin's Disease
  • Lymphoid Leukemia
  • Leukemia of Unspecified Cell Type
  • Malignant Immunoproliferative Diseases
  • Monocytic Leukemia
  • Myeloma
  • Malignant Plasma Cell Neoplasms
  • Myeloid Leukemia, and any sub-categories related to these cancers.

Digestive System

Many 9/11 survivors are being diagnosed with cancers connected to the digestive system.

Types of cancers include;

  • Colon
  • Esophagus
  • Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Ducts
  • Digestive Organs
  • Intestinal Tract
  • Rectum and Stomach Cancer

There are also several subsets of cancers that are often diagnosed also related to the digestive system.

Eye and Orbit

Cancer impacting the eye or orbital areas are also common 9/11-related cancers diagnosed. Specific cancers can affect the cornea, orbit, retina, glands, and ducts.

Female Breast and Reproductive Organs

Cancers, specifically affecting females, are often diagnosed as a result of 9/11 exposures. Types of cancer often found include breast cancer, affecting the general breast, nipple, areola, overlapping lesions, and all of the breast's quadrants. Ovarian cancer has also been directly linked to carcinogen exposure.

Head and Neck

Head and neck cancers can manifest in many ways, including but not limited to;

  • Sinuses
  • Tongue
  • Mouth
  • Larynx
  • Gums
  • Hypopharynx
  • Lips
  • Nasopharynx
  • Salivary Glands
  • Oropharynx
  • Cheeks
  • Palate
  • Sinuses
  • Glands

Respiratory System

Cancer patients who experience malignant cells within the body’s respiratory system have also been heavily linked to 9/11 exposures. Cancers include lung cancer, but those affecting the bronchial tubes, heart, pleura, respiratory tracts, and trachea have often been diagnosed.

Skin Cancers

Skin cancers often connected to toxic exposure stemming from 9/11 include malignant melanomas and malignant neoplasms of the skin. The range of skin cancers diagnosed in patients includes general areas of the body, but not excluding sensitive areas, such as the eyelid, scalp, or lips.

Soft Tissue

Cancer often attacks the soft tissues of the body, and, as a result, many WTC victims have been afflicted with related illnesses. Soft tissue cancers include, but are not limited to, connective tissues, peripheral nerves, and the nervous system.

This is just a general categorization of the cancer types associated with carcinogen exposure. Other cancer types typically connected to 9/11 toxins include mesothelioma, thyroid cancer, and the urinary system cancers. Urinary cancers can affect the bladder, kidney, urinary organs, prostate, and urethra.

Rare Cancer Types of Cancer Linked to 9/11

Cancers that occur in fewer than 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year that meet certain criteria are considered to be rare cancer types. These cancers are eligible for certification by the WTC Health Program, but they must meet a specific threshold to be categorized as rare cancers. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the list of rare cancers includes, but are not limited to the following different types of cancer.

Malignant neoplasms of the:

  • Adrenal gland and other endocrine glands
  • Anus and anal canal
  • Bone and articular cartilage
  • Breast cancer (men)
  • Central nervous system cancers in the brain, cranial nerves, meninges, and spinal cord
  • Gallbladder and biliary tract
  • Pancreas
  • Penis and testes
  • Placenta
  • Small intestine
  • Thymus
  • Vagina, vulva, and cervix uteri (invasive only)

Other rare cancers include malignant neuroendocrine neoplasm, which includes carcinoid tumors, along with Myeloid neoplasms. The latter includes;

  • Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
  • Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
  • Myeloid malignancies stemming from eosinophilia and abnormalities of growth factor receptors.

If a rare cancer is diagnosed that is not on this list, it may still be eligible. This list is not exhaustive by any means. Cancers meeting the definition of rate cancer can be considered by the WTC Health Program for certification. If you're suffering from a type of rare cancer you believe is connected to toxic exposure you experienced on or after September 11, 2001, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our WTC 9/11 attorneys.

The Differences Between 9/11 Programs

Initially, a fund was opened to support victims suffering WTC illnesses and their families around 2003, but it eventually ran out of money. In 2010, Congress authorized approximately $3 billion to continue support with the signing of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (Zadroga Act). The Zadroga Act was extended in 2015 with another $4 billion. Once again, the fund was coming close to exhaustion, and in July 2019 was extended again through the Never Forget the Heroes Act. With this passage, the World Trade Center Victim Fund will be funded until 2090 with essentially unlimited funding since Congress will continue to authorize additional funds for 9/11 victims who suffer health issues stemming from the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The two 9/11 programs, the WTC Health Program and the VCF go hand-in-hand, but it's essential to understand they are two distinct programs. It’s important for victims, or their families, who seek assistance from these programs to know how they differ. 

World Trade Center Health Program

The WTC Health Program provides free medical monitoring and lifetime healthcare benefits for 9/11-related cancers and other illnesses if you don’t have other medical coverage. Victims do not receive any financial compensation from this program.

Victim Compensation Fund

The VCF is a financial compensation program, and victims can receive monetary benefits for many of the designated illnesses as outlined, including more than 75 different cancers. It’s important for 9/11 victims to understand to qualify for the VCF, they must be “certified” by the WTC Health Program as treatment-eligible and that the illness or cancer diagnosis was directly linked to 9/11 exposures to toxins and carcinogens.

Once certified, it does not guarantee approval to receive funds from the VCF. The application process is complicated. An experienced 9/11 attorney can ensure all the necessary details are documented and submitted. Missing one step or a piece of supporting documentation can lead to a WTC fund claim being denied and delays of being accepted into the World Trade Center Health Program.

Victims Compensation Fund Statistics

Sadly, more than 100,000 responders and survivors have been identified as eligible for the WTC Health Program, and many more emerge every day. Of the people enrolled in the program, more than 15,000 are cancer patients.

Furthermore, a study that came out earlier in 2020 found police and recovery workers who spent time-saving lives, recovering bodies, and cleaning up the collapse of the Twin Towers are learning they have a variety of different types of cancers. These cancers include thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, and increased risks of other cancers. In fact, thyroid risk is more than double that of the general population, and leukemia risk is 41% higher. FDNY workers are also being studied separately and at least 200 firefighters have died from 9/11-related illnesses.

It is anticipated cancer rates for many first responders, recovery workers, fire department members, along with people in the general population, will, unfortunately, continue to rise over time.

Getting Compensation for Responders and Survivors

Office workers, residents, most construction and related trades, students and first responders of the events of 9/11. may be eligible to become certified by the WTC Health Program and receive funds of the World Trade Center Victim Fund. 

Generally, any person who lived, worked, attended school, volunteered, or responded to the terrorist attack and its recovery efforts may qualify for WTC benefits. Of course this includes members of the NYPD, FDNY and other first responders. Numerous people have received substantial awards from the VCF to be eligible for the program; Victims do not have to have been present on September 11th.  An experienced WTC attorney can evaluate your situation, determine your eligibility, and help you to file applications to register for the WTC Health Program and the World Trade Center Fund. Registration with the VCF online stops the statute of limitations from running. 

Contact Gregory Cannata & Associates for a Free Consultation Today

The experienced and compassionate lawyers at the Gregory Cannata & Associates law firm are dedicated to helping all 9/11 victims receive financial compensation for their losses and suffering. Since the VCF’s inception, our law firm has successfully obtained more than $300 million for clients who were severely impacted by the tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001, at Ground Zero.

If you or a loved one are suffering a cancer diagnosis or other 9/11 eligible injury from exposure to carcinogens at the former World Trade Center, Pentagon, or the airplane crash site in Shanksville, Pa., you may be eligible for medical care, medical monitoring, cancer treatments, and financial compensation.

To determine if you qualify, become certified by the WTCHP and eligible to apply to the VCF, contact our NYC office today at 888-982-8428. Our fees, as authorized by Congress, are extremely reasonable. We never charge our clients fees unless we recover compensation on their behalf. Our caring attorneys are highly knowledgeable about these programs and bring excellent results for our clients.


Robert A. Grochow
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Robert Grochow has over 30 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer in New York, serving as co-counsel in over a thousand cases. He has also received recognition as one of New York’s “Most Honest Lawyers” from the National Law Journal/Washington Post.

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