December 10, 2019
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and World Trade Center Health Program cover approximately 70 cancers, considered “VCF covered conditions,” which provide free health care to eligible first responders, residents, employees and students who were in Lower Manhattan at the time of the terrorist attacks and in the months after. One condition not considered a VCF covered condition yet, however, exclusively affects women: uterine cancer. This has gone without much comment or observation – until recently.
As reported in The Chief, the Office of the World Trade Center Health Administrator publicly noted in the September 24 Federal Register that upon review of “scientific and medical literature,” uterine cancer would not be added to the list of 70 cancers (VCF covered conditions) under the VCF and WTC Health Program. The reasoning is that there was insufficient evidence to prove that women who were present in Lower Manhattan contracted this condition as a result of having been exposed to the toxic contaminants during and in the months after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It is also important to note that endometrial cancer, which also attacks the uterus, is not covered by the VCF, either.
What is important to note is the ratio of male-to-female first responders who come under eligibility to receive free screening by the WTC Health Program, which is respectively 64,408-to-9,036. Brenda Berkman, a former FDNY Captain who served in the clean-up at the World Trade Center, states that the percentage of female first responders is less than one percent. To put it bluntly: Women responders are not being given the same attention as men. This means that the 9/11 claims process is more difficult for women responders in everything from proving they are sick to getting compensation. As an example of this imbalance, it was not until 2013 that cervical and ovarian cancers were added to the list of VCF covered conditions. Captain Berkman further points out that men have for the most part been used as research subjects in determining a 9/11-related illness, serving as another example of inaccurate and unfair evaluation.
Compounding this situation is the fact that many first responders and 9/11 survivors who were in Lower Manhattan between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 are not aware they may be eligible to receive benefits. For this reason, one of the guiding principles of the Zadroga Act lawyers at Turley Hansen & Rosasco, LLP is to educate survivors and urge them to file a claim, regardless of whether or not they have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness. In time, further investigations may be conducted. Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the Northwell Health Queens World Trade Center Program for 9/11 contends that while there is not enough current evidence to establish uterine cancer as a 9/11-related cancer, this status might change if more research is directed toward female survivors:
“The answer will come as we increasingly look to the survivor population, which by its nature is more representative of the gender split we find in the general population than with the predominantly male first-responder cohort.”
The overall survivor ratio is 10,979 men to 10,375 women, a more equal balance than those of first responders. In time, hopefully, between more engagement with the 9/11 community and added awareness, there will be greater attention given to cancers and illnesses that affect the female population, including uterine cancer.
As stated before, we at Turley Hansen & Rosasco, LLP cannot emphasize enough the importance of being registered with the Victim Compensation Fund. Whether you are male or female, currently ill or not – if you were present at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 or in the months after, contact us today. We can help determine your eligibility for filing a claim. Once this step is put in place, the process to seek compensation – if necessary – will be less complicated.
We work exclusively with 9/11 survivors and families. Call us at 1-855-201-4092. A member of our legal team is ready to speak to you and find out if you may qualify for compensation – in just five minutes. If you prefer, you can use the “live chat” option on our website. We’re here to help all 9/11 survivors and families get the compensation and care they deserve. If you are suffering from uterine cancer or another type of cancer and have questions about VCF covered conditions, please contact us today.
For more information, and to read the September 24 Federal Register document, view here.
Posted under: 9/11 Cancers