9/11 Kidney Cancer

About Kidney Cancer

The kidneys are two fist-size organs found below the rib cage. The function of the kidneys is to filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood. Those wastes, in the form of 1 to 2 quarts of urine per day, are then transferred to the bladder for elimination. 

Any impairment to the kidneys can impact their functioning. When that happens, waste products and fluids can build up in the body, causing additional health problems.

As with other cancers, kidney cancer involves the out-of-control growth of cells. It can also further compromise health by spreading, or metastasizing, to other organs, or to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymph system. 

Kidney cancer has a particularly long median latency period–32 years–between initial exposure to a carcinogen and the appearance of tumors.

The 9/11 Kidney Cancer Connection

Many substances found in typical building materials are known to cause cancer, including asbestos, concrete, and gypsum. Normally, these do not present a problem for people. But when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11, those burning materials were pulverized, and relatively large particles of those substances filled the air in a toxic cloud.

Responders, residents and others could not help breathing and inhaling in this carcinogenic dust, which fouled the air in lower Manhattan for months.

Some of the health impact was immediate, but some took years to develop. Years, even decades after the events on 9/11, those who were present in the area started showing higher cancer rates, including kidney cancer, than the general population.

Learn about other types of cancer with a connection to 9/11, and get answers about the financial compensation that’s available for victims.

Kidney Cancer Symptoms

Typical symptoms of 9/11 kidney cancer include blood in the urine, lower back pain on one side, a lump or mass on the abdomen or back, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite.

However, there are a number of possible causes for these specific symptoms, and no determination of 9/11 kidney cancer should be made without a professional medical diagnosis. 

Kidney Cancer Treatment & Prognosis

Typically, treatment consists of surgery, targeted therapies, immunotherapies, or some combination. Radiation therapy is sometimes also used if the patient cannot have surgery, or as a treatment for areas in which the cancer has spread, not for the original kidney tumor.  

Fortunately, if one entire kidney is surgically removed due to cancer, the patient can continue to live and function with just a single kidney.

The prognosis can vary based on the stage of cancer and the person’s general health. Only 50% of sufferers of this disease are expected to live over 10 years.

Because of its long latency period, younger people who were in the Ground Zero area on 9/11 are more at risk than older people, who may not live long enough for kidney cancer to appear.

Learn more about Kidney cancer from the American Cancer Society.

Compensation for 9/11 Kidney Cancer Victims

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (part of The Zadroga Act) offers financial reimbursement for medical expenses and related costs associated with kidney 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 Client Compensation Result

A Port Authority officer and Kreindler 8/11 VCF client who was diagnosed with kidney cancer was awarded $1.2 million dollars.