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Digestive System Cancers in 9/11 Responders and Survivors


Respiratory diseases aren’t the only types of illnesses 9/11 responders and survivors developed as a result of inhaling the toxins in the dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks. Tragically, many who aided in the rescue and recovery efforts — as well as those who lived or worked in the NYC Exposure Zone — developed digestive system cancers as a result of inhaling and ingesting the chemicals that remained in the air for months. If you are a responder or survivor who suffers from a digestive system cancer, you may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.     

Types of Digestive System Cancers and Treatment

Cancers of the colon and rectum are among the top 15 certified cancers in 9/11 responders and survivors. However, all types of digestive system cancers may be eligible for VCF compensation. While some responders and survivors developed these types of cancers shortly after exposure to the toxic dust, others were not diagnosed until years later due to long latency periods. 

Common types of 9/11-related digestive system cancers can include:

  • Colon cancer
  • Esophagus cancer
  • Rectum cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Rectosigmoid junction cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Intestinal tract cancers

Each type of digestive system cancer may present with specific symptoms ranging from loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and abdominal pain. But in many cases, symptoms do not occur until the cancer has become more advanced and has spread to other parts of the body. Critically, when caught in the early stages, many digestive system cancers may be treated. This is why it is crucial for responders and survivors to enroll in the WTC Health Program and attend regular health screenings.  

Treatment for digestive system cancers can vary depending on the stage of the illness and the severity. Typically, treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. In some cases, targeted drugs or immunotherapy may also be used. 

VCF Compensation for Digestive System Cancers

Recognizing that a digestive system cancer can impact every aspect of a responder or survivor’s life — including their ability to earn a living — the VCF awards compensation to those who satisfy the eligibility criteria. While any type of 9/11-related cancer may be compensated by the VCF, it is vital to understand that the condition must first be certified by the WTC Health Program.

If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11 digestive system cancer, you may be entitled to receive an award of up to $250,000 for your pain and suffering. While the amount is capped under the Zadroga Act, it can vary based on the severity of the condition. The VCF also issues monetary recovery for economic loss, including lost earnings, loss of employment benefits, and the out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with medical treatment. 

The spouse and dependents of a responder or survivor who passed away as a result of a 9/11 digestive system cancer may also be entitled to VCF compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. In these cases, the family may be able to recover for their economic and non-economic losses, expenses related to burial or memorial services, and replacement services loss. The Zadroga Act allows a non-economic loss award for wrongful death in the presumed amount of $250,000 for the victim. The dependents and spouse may also be entitled to each receive an additional $100,000.   

Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

A digestive system cancer can significantly impact your life, livelihood, and family. If you have been diagnosed with a digestive system cancer linked to the carcinogens in the 9/11 dust cloud, you may be entitled to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, registering with the VCF and filing a claim can be a confusing and overwhelming process. A skilled VCF attorney can guide you through the process and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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 more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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