ACS Highlights New Studies on WTC Cancers

One study indicated there may be a link between WTC firefighters and a disease that can be a precursor for multiple myeloma. The second study estimated more WTC firefighters will develop certain types of cancer than would be expected if they had not been exposed to Ground Zero.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) highlighted two newly published studies of whether exposure to chemicals during the response and recovery work at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks increased firefighters' cancer risk. Stacy Simon, ACS senior editor, news, reports that the studies were published April 26 in JAMA Oncology with an editorial written by Dr. Otis W. Brawley, M.D., the ACS chief medical officer.

"Previous studies have suggested that exposure to carcinogens and poisons contained in the dust and smoke in the wreckage of the World Trade Center raised the risk of cancer for people who worked at the site, some of them for months. However, a definite link between exposure and cancer is difficult to establish," Simon wrote.

One study indicated there may be a link between WTC firefighters and a disease that can be a precursor for multiple myeloma. The second study estimated that more WTC firefighters and rescue workers will go on to develop certain types of cancer than would be expected if they had not been exposed to Ground Zero.

Her article includes this quote from Brawley's editorial: "The WTC attack is an emotional subject. Cancer is also an emotional subject. There is a tendency to want to blame something for every diagnosed cancer. We often attribute cancer to some environmental exposure. When these WTC heroes are diagnosed as having a cancer, even a cancer common in the population, there is a natural tendency to assume it is due to their service at the WTC. We do justice to and honor these men and women by working hard to find the truth and determine the illnesses that are associated with their service."

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