Last year, 1,140 cases of cancer were reported among ground zero responders and rescuers, but now the number has grown to over 2,500, the New York Post reports.
The World Trade Center Health Program at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital has a record of 1,655 responders with cancer among the total of 37,000 9/11 workers in its program, including police officers, sanitation workers, and city employees.
When firefighters and EMTs are added, the number of cancer cases rises to 2,518.
On Friday, the Fire Department of New York said that 863 of its members have been certified to receive 9/11-related treatment.
World Trade Center epidemiologists report that 9/11 workers suffer from cancers at a much greater rate than seen in the general population, specifically lung cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
One retired FDNY captain, now 63, suffers from lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer. He worked at ground zero for a week following the attacks of Sept. 11, and recently received $1.5 million from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The captain, who was not named, took control of a city bus and managed to close the Brooklyn Bridge after the terrorist attack so that he and his crew could rush to ground zero and join in the search for victims. He is one of hundreds who was forced to retire due to lung damage and other ailments.
The former fireman reportedly brought the Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Sheila Birnbaum to tears after he testified at a hearing in May and spoke on how much he loves his grandchildren and his wife of 40 years.
“I’m hoping they rush more cases like mine, where we’re not expected to last long,” he told the Post. “I knew that day that a lot of us would get sick.”
So far, the VCF has awarded 115 cancer patients with a total of $50.5 million, in sums ranging from $400,000 to $4.1 million.
Many more 9/11 responders or their next of kin are likely to file claims by the Oct. 14 deadline.