9/11 Leukemia/Blood Cancer

About Leukemia/Blood Cancer

Blood cancer, also known as leukemia, is a cancer of the cells chiefly in the bone marrow that produce blood cells. In most cases, this involves the out-of-control production of the white blood cells, but can also be found with other types of blood cells. In either case, the overproduced cells may enter the bloodstream either ‘immature’ or damaged. 

Cancer of the blood may grow quickly (‘acute leukemia’) or slowly (‘chronic leukemia’).

Scientists cannot always pinpoint the cause of the DNA mutations that lead to leukemia, but have found that environmental factors often seem to be involved. Ongoing exposure to pesticides or herbicides has been linked to some forms of blood cancer.

There are many types of leukemia, including Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, and Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia. Also, leukemia is the most common cancer found in teenagers and children. 

The 9/11 Leukemia Connection

Leukemia has been found to be among one of the more prevalent forms of cancer that scientists and health officials have tied to the toxic air surrounding Ground Zero during and after the 9/11 attacks.  

Not only first responders and clean-up crews have been diagnosed with 9/11-related leukemia; residents of lower Manhattan have also shown a higher-than-normal incidence. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund offers a claim procedure for financial reimbursement for medical and related expenses. 

Since leukemia typically appears 5 or 6 years after the exposure to toxins, many Manhattan residents, workers and students are only recently discovering that their cancer diagnosis may be 9/11-related.

Leukemia  Symptoms

Symptoms vary, depending on the type and stage of blood cancer in the individual.  

Chronic forms of leukemia may not present any symptoms at all.

Acute forms of the disease tend to grow rapidly, with symptoms that include weight loss, fatigue, frequent infections, and a tendency to bruise easily. Also, pain in the bones or joints, dizziness, or fever can be indicators that it’s time to seek a medical assessment to rule out other possibilities.

Leukemia Treatment & Prognosis 

Like its symptoms, treatment plans for 9/11 leukemia depend on the type of blood cancer, as well as the stage in which it is detected.

With chronic forms of leukemia that do not produce symptoms, the ‘watchful waiting’ may be recommended, until a change is detected that suggests the need for medical intervention.

Radiation, chemotherapy and surgery (including bone marrow transplantation) are among the most prevalent treatment options for acute 9/11 blood cancer. The goal is to destroy the cancerous blood-producing cells to allow normal cells to form. Newer ‘targeted therapies’ seek to eliminate the problem with minimal damage to healthy cells, and with fewer side effects.

Due to such a wide variety of factors, an overall prognosis for 9/11 leukemia victims is impossible to determine.

Learn more about Leukemia/blood cancer from the American Cancer Society.

Compensation for 9/11 Leukemia/Blood Cancer Victims

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (part of The Zadroga Act) offers financial reimbursement for medical expenses and related costs associated with leukemia/blood cancer that was caused by the 2001 terrorist attack.  

Find out more about the Victim’s Compensation Fund, eligibility, next steps, deadlines, what it covers, and more.

Actual Case Result

Financial Compensation for an actual Kreindler 9/11 VCF client: $3.4 miiion for a MTA police officer diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and related health disorders.