Exposure to the toxic dust cloud of 9/11 continues to take a toll on responders and survivors two decades later. Due to long and varying latency periods, many 9/11-related cancers are still being diagnosed in those who aided in the rescue and recovery efforts — as well as residents who lived within the NYC Exposure Zone. While responders and survivors have a higher risk of cancer than average, researchers have found that 9/11 police officers and recovery workers have a 41% higher chance of developing leukemia. If you’re an eligible responder or survivor, you may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund if you developed a 9/11-related cancer or leukemia.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a type of cancer that develops in blood-forming tissues in the body, affecting the bone marrow. Specifically, it is caused by an excess of white blood cells that fail to function properly.
There are various forms of 9/11-related leukemia that may present with different symptoms. Leukemia may include symptoms such as fatigue, fever, chills, reoccurring infections, headaches, weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes. However, in some cases, the warning signs do not become obvious until the disease has reached the later stages.
While there are some similarities, it’s essential to distinguish leukemia from lymphoma. Although they both affect white blood cells, leukemia attacks the bone marrow, while lymphomas affect the lymph nodes and lymphocytes. Both types of cancers have been found in hundreds of 9/11 responders and survivors to date.
Since not all people who develop leukemia or blood cancer related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks have the same symptoms — or any at all — it’s critical that eligible responders and survivors enroll for health monitoring and cancer screening provided by the WTC Health Program.
What 9/11 Leukemias and Blood Cancers are Compensated by the VCF?
Responders and survivors were exposed to countless carcinogens at Ground Zero and while they were present in the Exposure Zone. One of the toxins found in the area was benzene — a chemical used in jet fuel that is known to cause leukemia. As a result of exposure, the incidences of leukemia have been reported to be significantly elevated among 9/11 general responders.
All 9/11-related leukemias and blood cancers are eligible for VCF compensation, including:
- Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Acute or chronic leukemia
- Lymphoid leukemia
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Monocytic leukemia
- Multiple myeloma and malignant plasma cell neoplasms
- Myeloid leukemia
- B-cell lymphoma
- T-cell lymphoma
The WTC Health Program has assigned a minimum latency period to each specific type of cancer to certify the condition for VCF compensation eligibility. The latency period for leukemia and blood cancers can vary significantly based on a number of factors pertaining to each individual. For instance, leukemia may develop between 1.5 to 15 years after exposure to toxins. Since the time frames in which individuals may develop leukemia and other blood cancers can vary so widely, the WTC Health Program has assigned a minimum latency period of .4 years (146 days) for lymphoproliferative and hematopoietic cancers, after exposure to the 9/11 toxins.
It’s critical to understand that any type of 9/11-related cancer must first be certified by the WTC Health program in order for an eligible responder or survivor to submit a claim for compensation to the VCF. The VCF will not consider any claim that was not certified by the program.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you’re a 9/11 responder or survivor who suffers from an eligible 9/11-related leukemia, lymphoma, or another type of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation from the VCF. Since there are many complex regulations and deadlines involved, submitting a VCF claim can be a confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming process. It’s best to have the guidance of a skilled 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney who can help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve from the VCF for your illness.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, call (212) 970-6500.