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Rare Cancers in 9/11 Responders and Survivors


9/11 responders and survivors continue to be diagnosed with many different forms of cancer, even more than 20 years after the attack. Skin cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and leukemia are some of the more well-known cancer conditions affecting those who were within the NYC Exposure Zone. 

However, there are also many types of cancers linked to the dust cloud that are considered “rare.” If you are an eligible responder or survivor who developed a rare cancer, you may be entitled to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.    

Rare Cancers Linked to the 9/11 Dust Cloud

“Rare cancers” are defined by the WTC Health Program as any cancer with an incident rate of fewer than 15 cases per 100,000 persons annually. These forms of cancer may be certified by the WTC Health Program and are eligible for VCF compensation. The WTC Health Program includes the following types of cancers in the “rare cancers” category:  

  • Adrenal gland and endocrine glands
  • Anus and anal canal
  • Bone and articular cartilage
  • Male breast cancer
  • Gallbladder and other parts of the biliary tract
  • Meninges, brain, spinal cord
  • Cancer of the cranial nerves and other parts of the nervous system
  • Pancreas
  • Reproductive organs
  • Small intestine
  • Thymus

Other types of rare cancers include malignant neuroendocrine neoplasm, such as carcinoid tumors. The WTC Health Program also recognizes myeloid neoplasms, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms, and myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms. In addition, myeloid malignancies in connection with eosinophilia and abnormalities of growth factor receptors are included in this category. 

VCF Compensation for 9/11 Rare Cancers

A rare cancer diagnosis can significantly impact a responder or survivor’s livelihood and quality of life. The VCF issues compensation to those who have developed rare cancers and satisfy the necessary criteria. 

To be eligible to receive an award from the VCF, a responder or survivor must have been present at any location within the NYC Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. In addition, the cancer must first be certified by the WTC Health Program. 

Both economic and non-economic losses are compensated by the VCF. An economic loss award covers loss of earnings, benefits, and out-of-pocket costs in connection with medical treatment. A non-economic loss award compensates for the pain and suffering experienced due to the impact of a 9/11 health condition or cancer on the daily life of a responder or survivor. 

While the VCF will award up to $250,000 in non-economic loss for a rare cancer — per the statutory cap under the Zadroga Act — the Special Master has the discretion to exceed this amount if multiple cancers have been diagnosed.

The family of a responder or survivor who passed away due to a rare cancer linked to the dust cloud may also be entitled to recover compensation from the VCF by filing a wrongful death claim. In doing so, the spouse and victim’s dependents may be eligible to receive an award for both their economic and non-economic losses. 

Pursuant to the Zadroga Act, non-economic loss is issued in the presumed amount of $250,000 on behalf of the victim, and $100,000 is awarded on account of the spouse and each dependent. 

Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

Facing a rare cancer diagnosis can be emotionally overwhelming and have a substantial financial impact on you and your family. If you have developed a 9/11-related rare cancer, you may be eligible to receive treatment from the WTC Health Program and compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, it’s crucial to have the guidance of an experienced 9/11 VCF attorney who can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and help ensure you obtain the monetary award 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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