November 2021 STAC Meeting Concerning Uterine Cancer and 9/11 WTC Claims
Uterine cancer victims who are 9/11 survivors and first responders have waited years to receive medically necessary benefits to cover the cost of treatment that is the likely result of exposure to 9/11 toxins. The wait is nearly over, as uterine cancer will be the newest addition to 9/11-related conditions worthy of medical benefits and compensation.
Under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015, survivors and first responders who have qualifying conditions can seek medical benefits through the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and compensation through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
After many years of trying and failing to add uterine cancer to the list of qualifying WTC-related health conditions, uterine cancer will finally make the cut. The collective efforts of victims, medical doctors, scientists, 9/11 attorneys, and lawmakers, have led the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) of the WTCHP to conclude that a reasonable basis exists for adding uterine cancer to the list of qualifying WTC-related health conditions.
On November 18, 2021, a STAC meeting was held to review STAC’s workgroup report concerning uterine cancer as a qualifying WTC medical condition. The meeting was open to the public for comment via webcast on Zoom. Now that a decision has been made to recommend inclusion of uterine cancer on the list of WTC-related health conditions, female 9/11 survivors and victims will be eligible to seek benefits and compensation.
Pitta & Baione LLP – 9/11 Attorneys with a Track Record of Success
At Pitta & Baione LLP, our team of 9/11 attorneys provides legal representation to 9/11 survivors and first responders who have suffered injuries or developed illnesses following the 9/11 attacks. If you believe your diagnosis of uterine or endometrial cancer is linked to exposure of 9/11 toxins, consider contacting our office to schedule a free consultation.
STAC’s Recommendation to Include Uterine Cancer on the 9/11 Illness List
On November 1, 2021, the STAC submitted its draft workgroup report, which is a response to the WTCHP Administrator’s request for the STAC to evaluate the inclusion of uterine cancer on the list of qualifying conditions. In its report, the STAC determined that there is a “reasonable scientific basis to support adding uterine cancer to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions.”
A lack of evidence – because of limited study groups, which are mostly comprised of males – has kept uterine cancer off the list for too long. When every other cancer type is included on the WTC-related health condition list, there is no longer a good reason to exclude uterine cancer as a qualifying medical condition.
November 18, 2021 STAC Meeting
The topic of the November 18, 2021 STAC meeting was to review the STAC’s workgroup report recommending that uterine cancer be added to the list of WTC-related health conditions. The meeting was open to public comment prior to final deliberations.
Adding a medical condition to the WTC-related illness list is no easy task. The process requires a regulatory rule change, so victims will still have to wait before becoming eligible for benefits. It may be six or more months before victims can file claims, but at least progress is being made for those in need after waiting for years.
Submission of Comments at STAC Meetings
Public comments are always welcome and encouraged any time a request is made to the list of WTC-related health conditions. Public comments assist regulatory agencies in finalizing rules for inclusion in the Federal Register. STAC Deliberations and Recommendations. While public comments typically do not change a STAC recommendation, public comments do help to revise language of the rule, and make any other necessary changes.
What Do 9/11 Benefits Cover?
The Zadroga Act created two paths for benefits and compensation to help 9/11 survivors and first responders. One path is the WTCHP, which provides a means for qualifying claimants to receive coverage for medical expenses related to the treatment of a WTC-related health condition. The second path is the VCF, which awards compensation to qualifying survivors and first responders.
A common misconception is that the WTCHP and VCF are one and the same, which is not the case. The WTCHP is intended to provide coverage for all medical costs associated with the treatment of a 9/11 illness.
With cancer, for example, medical expenses may include, among others, costs for chemotherapy, immunotherapy, clinic visits, hospitalizations, prescription medication, and the use of medical devices. Cancer treatment is an expensive endeavor that no 9/11 victim should be facing.
With the addition of uterine cancer (including endometrial cancer) to the list of covered medical conditions, victims suffering from uterine cancer will have an opportunity to receive medical benefits and perhaps compensation through the VCF. The amount of compensation awarded to a qualifying claimant is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In the event a 9/11 victim is deceased, a legal representative of the victim’s estate can file a claim.
How Long Will Benefits Last for 9/11 Victims?
The WTCHP has a framework that allows victims to receive benefits and treatment as long as necessary. However, the WTCHP requires funding, which Congress must approve and appropriate for a specific use. Thankfully, a group of lawmakers has pushed to include funding in the “Build Back Better” bill for the WTCHP, understanding that there will be a continued need for funding for decades to come. The funding provided for in the Build Back Better bill would last for an additional ten years.
Many 9/11 survivors were very young at the time of exposure to the toxic dust created by the attacks. Exposure to many toxic substances does not result in an immediate cancer diagnosis. Rather, years or even decades will go by before cancer develops. As such, benefits will be necessary for those who are at risk of developing cancer. Qualifying survivors can receive medical monitoring to track their health as the years go by.
Pitta & Baione LLP – Personal Injury Attorneys Serving 9/11 Victims
Now that uterine cancer will be the newest edition to the WTC-related health condition list, 9/11 victims will have a chance to file a claim to recover benefits and compensation. If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder who is battling uterine cancer, which includes endometrial cancer, you should consider discussing your situation with a 9/11 attorney. At Pitta & Baione LLP, our 9/11 attorneys are devoted advocates who represent the rights of 9/11 victims. To schedule your free consultation, contact our office today by calling (844) 901-1237.