Saturday, November 26, 2022

Uterine cancer may be added to the list of 9/11-related health issues 

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When the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, survivors breathed in toxic dust, and first responders and cleanup workers, deployed in massive numbers, worked among the dangerous rubble. More than 20 years after the attacks, the health consequences of their time at Ground Zero are continuing to mount.

The World Trade Center Health Program, a government program that monitors and treats WTC-related health conditions, covers nearly every type of cancer. But a single type has never been added to its list: uterine cancer.

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That could soon change. Officials have proposed adding uterine cancer to the list of cancers covered by the program, and the rule change is in its final stage.

Uterine cancer makes up 3.4 percent of all new cancer cases nationally and will cause an estimated 12,550 deaths this year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Uterine and endometrial cancers can be caused by the endocrine-disrupting substances found at Ground Zero. So far, however, data on how many people are affected has been scant.

Study finds clues to ‘puzzling and concerning’ rise in uterine cancer death rates

Part of that is because of the makeup of first responders and cleanup worker; an estimated 15 percent are female. In addition, a scientific advisory committee concluded that there could be other selection biases afoot in enrollment in health-related studies within the WTC-linked population.

That “makes it unlikely that a definitive association between 9/11 exposure and uterine cancer can be identified during the lifetimes of even the most exposed program members,” the WTC Health Program said in a statement. Nonetheless, scientific advisers and the program’s administrator say that there’s enough evidence to conclude that a plausible connection exists between dust and other WTC chemicals and uterine cancer.

The effort is backed by patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, physicians and more than a dozen members of Congress.

“I had already authored several studies that had shown an excess of all cancers in responders, and we knew that a lot of the chemicals people had been exposed to were endocrine disruptors that can lead to this type of cancer,” said Iris Udasin, who leads Rutgers University’s World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and has treated several of the first responders and survivors for the cancer, in a news release.

The proposed change can be found in the Federal Register and is open for public comment through June 26.



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