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World Trade Center Study: No Cancer Link

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:16 PM

A new study has found no clear link between debris and fumes released during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and cases of cancer among residents of Lower Manhattan or rescue and recovery workers.
The New York City Health Department study — the most extensive to date to examine cancer cases among 9/11 survivors — comes less than a year after the federal government added cancer to the list of illnesses covered by the $4.3 billion World Trade Center fund.
Researchers examined the medical records of nearly 55,778 people exposed to fumes, dirt, and debris during or after the terrorist attacks. The results showed that, while the rates of three cancers (multiple myeloma, prostate, and thyroid) were higher in rescue and recovery workers than in the general population, the overall numbers were small and could not be directly tied to the World Trade Center attacks.
Overall, researchers concluded, there was no increase in the rates of 23 cancers from 2003 to 2008. What’s more, people who were exposed to more of the toxic substances released at ground zero were no more likely to develop cancer than among those with lower exposures.
“No significant associations were observed with intensity of World Trade Center exposures,” the researchers concluded, adding that additional follow-up studies should continue.
“Among persons enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, there was an excess risk for prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and myeloma in 2007-2008 compared with that for New York State residents; however, these findings were based on a small number of events and multiple comparisons.”
The findings have raised questions about the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act — created to care for World Trade Center victims — and what conditions should be included. Experts said it’s unclear whether the act, signed by President Obama in early 2011, could be affected by the study and if survivors would be likely to receive less money.
Dr. Thomas A. Farley, M.D., the health commissioner in New York City, told The New York Times that it was too soon to take the study as a repudiation of the government’s decision.
“Cancers take 20 years to develop,” Dr. Farley said, “and we might see something different 20 years down the line.” But he added, “You don’t want to wait 20 to 30 years to get a definitive answer” to survivors.
The study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first comprehensive analysis of cancer cases. A smaller study last year by the New York Fire Department found a 19 percent higher incidence of all types of cancer for exposed firefighters.
The new health department study found a higher rate of prostate, thyroid cancer, and multiple myeloma, but could not say those cases were caused by or even linked to Sept. 11. That’s because the number of people affected was small — just 13 cases of thyroid cancer and 67 of prostate cancer — and that at least some of those cancers would be expected part of the normal cancer rate or could be due to genetics, family history, or other lifestyle factors.

© HealthDay

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A new study has found there is no link between cancer and the World Trade Center collapse of 9/11.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:16 PM
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