Health organizations such as Penn Medicine provide other types of specialty care to local first responders and survivors through the program’s national network of providers.
The program’s list of certified WTC-related health conditions includes trauma such as burns and head trauma, airway diseases such as asthma and sleep apnea, mental health conditions and cancer.
First responders at the attack sites in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were at higher risk of cancer from long-term exposure to chemicals and toxins, research shows.
But until now, uterine cancer was excluded from coverage. That’s partly because it takes longer to identify cancer as a relevant consequence, Udasin said, because there are fewer cases than other types of cancer.
“Think about who most of the responders are – they’re firefighters, construction workers, police, some communications workers,” she said. “There are women in those groups, but not many.”
For several years, Udasin joined other researchers and public health experts in calling on federal officials to list uterine cancer so that responders diagnosed with the disease could benefit from free treatment.
“While we originally looked at individual types of cancer, the moral of this story is that it’s best to think of cancer as all cancers, even though individual cancers may have other risk factors,” Udasin said.