Uterine Cancers Related to 9/11 Exposures Now Covered by World Trade Center Health Program
A final rule issued this week by the Department of Health and Human Services adds all types of uterine cancer to the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions, effective Jan. 18. The WTC Health Program is administered by NIOSH and provides medical monitoring and treatment of health conditions related to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The program serves responders at the WTC and related sites in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and survivors who were in the New York City disaster area. To date, more than 74,000 people have been diagnosed with physical and mental health conditions resulting from 9/11 exposures to dust, debris, and traumatic events, according to NIOSH.
Under the new rule, members of the WTC Health Program with uterine cancers that meet the program’s eligibility and certification requirements may get their cancers certified as WTC-related health conditions. Members whose uterine cancers are certified will have their treatment covered by the program with no out-of-pocket costs as well as access to program benefits like monitoring, certain cancer screenings, and benefits counseling.
The addition of uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions is based on an “exhaustive review and evaluation of the available body of scientific evidence describing the causal relationship between 9/11 exposures and uterine cancer,” a NIOSH news update explains. The WTC Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on research, the addition of health conditions to the list of certified conditions, and eligibility criteria for the program, provided the scientific basis for its recommendation to add uterine cancer to the list as part of the process.
“With the publication of this rule, a critical gap in coverage for women in the program has been eliminated,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “All types of cancer, if determined to be related to 9/11 exposures, are now covered by the World Trade Center Health Program, providing women equal access to the treatment they deserve.”
More than 26,000 of the 121,000 members enrolled in the WTC Health Program are women, NIOSH notes.
Related: Several articles in The Synergist have focused on 9/11 exposures, including “Looking Back on 9/11: Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001” and “Hazard or Artifact?: How OEHS Informs Collection Management of World Trade Center Dust at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.” The article “Exposures at the World Trade Center: Ten Years Later, What Have We Learned?” was originally published in the September 2011 issue of the magazine. A SynergistNOW blog post published in 2021 focuses on occupational and environmental health and safety professionals’ experiences on 9/11.