Respiratory Cancers Experienced by 9/11 Survivors
The World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 exposed responders and survivors to a hazardous dust cloud. Smoke, fire, fuel, and building debris of concrete, plastic, and other building chemicals filled the air. Even during clean-up and recovery efforts, particles of hazardous materials filled the air, further exposing responders and survivors to dangerous air conditions. Years after this tragedy, first responders and survivors are suffering from respiratory system cancers. The 9/11 attorneys at Pitta & Baione are available to discuss available benefits for survivors.
Covered 9/11 Respiratory Cancers
The following respiratory cancers are covered conditions under the World Trade Center Health Program:
- Bronchus and lung: unspecified; main bronchus; upper, middle, and lower lobes; overlapping lesions
- Heart, mediastinum, and pleura: unspecified, anterior and posterior mediastinum; heart; overlapping lesion; pleura
- Other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory and intrathoracic organs, including trachea and upper respiratory tract
Most often you will hear about lung cancer, but these other respiratory system cancers are not to be ignored.
Risk of Respiratory Cancers
Respiratory cancers are often associated with poor air quality or hazardous activities. Avoidance techniques include abstaining from activities that would introduce hazardous materials into the respiratory system, such as avoiding smoking, avoiding areas of poor air quality, and avoiding exposure to certain working conditions with dangerous materials. Of course, first responders and survivors of 9/11 did not have the opportunity to avoid the airborne hazards.
Symptoms, Diagnosing, and Treating Respiratory Cancer
Respiratory cancer can grow without detection for some time.
Common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Cough, often accompanied by blood
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
The pleura is a protective lining of the lungs. The pleura is susceptible to cancer, and often associated with inhaling asbestos. Common symptoms of pleural cancer include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
The trachea is commonly known as the windpipe. tumors can obstruct the airway and make it difficult to breathe. Cancer of the trachea also involves symptoms of wheezing and coughing.
Since cough, pains and weight loss can be caused by other ailments, respiratory cancer can go unnoticed. By the time the cancer is identified, the cancer may be advanced. Respiratory cancers can be identified through x-ray, CT scans, and sampling tissues through biopsy.
Treatment for respiratory cancers includes surgery to remove the cancerous tissue and surrounding areas of the respiratory system to avoid further spread of the cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also be used to treat respiratory cancers.