More than 5,440 people have been diagnosed as having cancer brought on by being at or around Ground Zero after the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, reports Newsweek. Tragically, those who risked their lives at Ground Zero to help others are the majority of those affected:
Doctors with the World Trade Center Health Program, which the federal government created in the aftermath of the attacks, have linked nearly 70 types of cancer to Ground Zero. Many people have fallen victim to cancers their doctors say are rare, aggressive, and particularly hard to treat. “The diseases stemming from the World Trade Center attacks include almost all lung diseases, almost all cancers—such as issues of the upper airways, gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, panic and adjustment disorders,” says Dr. David Prezant, co-director for the Fire Department of the City of New York’s World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program.
But the Newsweek report finds even more unsettling health consequences of the 9/11 attacks:
The wider population is also suffering: As many as 400,000 people are estimated to be affected by diseases, such as cancers, and mental illnesses linked to September 11. This figure includes those who lived and worked within a mile and a half of Ground Zero in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the vast majority of whom still don’t know they’re at risk. Mark Farfel, director of the World Trade Center Health Registry, which tracks the health of more than 71,000 rescue workers and survivors, says, “Many people don’t connect the symptoms they have today to September 11.”
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.