World Trade Center Cancer Rates in NYPD Officers Rising

nyc_police_officer_cancer_rates_riseNew York police officer cancer rates have risen five-fold in the 10 years since the attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers, according to a New York Police Department (NYPD) report.

There has been a ten-fold increase in thyroid cancer diagnoses and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases have risen by what The New York Daily News described as a factor of 3 ½. Now, a surgeon with the NYPD is discussing the increased cancer rates, pointing out that most of the officers conducted rescue and recovery at Ground Zero. Chief Surgeon for the NYPD, Dr. Eli Kleinman, told The Daily News that early awareness is key in these two cancers as they often go without symptoms in early stages.

Dr. Kleinman and Cornell Weill Medical Center collected the information as part of an NYPD study analyzing cancer rates in cops from 1995 to 2011. While full results will not be released for a few months, Dr. Kleinman says it’s crucial the information should not be delayed as these cancers “only show up late in terms of symptoms,” he said. The cancers are also not easily discovered during self-exams, Dr. Kleinman also noted, according to The Daily News. “It’s an advisory. I don’t want to be alarmist, but it’s important for them to know that even if you don’t have any symptoms or any signs you need to be monitored…. It’s important to be checked out,” Dr. Kleinman told The Daily News.

Prior to the terrorist attacks, the NYPD recorded five thyroid cancer cases among its officers; however, since, there have been about 50 cases, said Kleinman. “The numbers are still small, but they’re significant enough in terms of the rate increase that we need to take a hard look at this and other diagnoses and see where this is going,” Dr. Kleinman told The Daily News. According to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, about 57 police officers have died due to Ground Zero cancers and about 500 have been diagnosed with some type of cancer since the attacks. “Get yourself checked out,” the commissioner said, according to the Daily News.

The report included NYPD officers who worked at Ground Zero, as well as people who worked at places such as the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. The study also looked at retirees and serving cops, The Daily News reported.

We’ve long written that rescue and recovery workers who responded to the September 11th World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attacks may be at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Recently, prostate cancer was included among the cancers covered under the Zadroga Act.

The Zadroga Act, which was passed in December 2010, reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for five years to provide payment for job and economic losses for first responders, those trapped in the buildings, and local residents, who suffered illness or injuries related to the toxic dust.

Nearly 12 years after the terrorist attacks, a study from the Mount Sinai Medical Center revealed a 15 percent increase in cancer rates in first responders, when compared to people not exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero, The Daily News previously reported. Some 1,140 responders and people who worked, lived, or went to school in lower Manhattan have been certified to be diagnosed with a WTC-related cancer by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The deadline to register for the compensation fund is October 3rd; As of September 15th, the latest date for which statistics are available, more than 30,000 people had registered, according to Newsday.

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