9/11 anniversary: 9/11 diseases may kill more than those who died on Sept. 11

It has been 17 years since first responders rushed in, paying no mind to their own health and safety to rescue, and eventually recover, those who were victims of the September 11 attacks. 

Since that day, 10,000 first responders from the World Trade Center have been diagnosed with cancer. 

So far more than 2,000 have died. But by the end of this year, some experts believe that the number will grow to more than the 2,977 people who lost their lives in the attacks, the Westchester Journal News reported.

The World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai provides free medical monitoring, treatment, mental health services and benefits counseling for 9/11 responders and volunteers. 
It also documents the physical and mental health issues that those who were at the 9/11 site are still facing. 

A firefighter breaks down after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a terrorist attack. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Some of the conditions include: upper and lower respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, musculoskeletal disorders, mental health conditions and various types of cancer.

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The WTC Health Program was established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For first responders, the rate of some cancers is 30 percent higher than the general population, the Journal News reported.

And it isn’t just limited to those who went into service at Ground Zero. Some are concerned about those who worked in the recovery effort at Pier 94, those who were sifting through the debris at Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island and even the local mechanics who worked on the dust-covered trucks that carried the remains of the World Trade Center, the Journal News reported.

There may be some who don’t even know they are sick yet, so the compensation act was extended through 2090. But the financial help that was also set up for those who developed illnesses related to 9/11 may not be there when it is needed. 

The 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund ends on Dec. 18, 2020, the Journal News reported. The fund had more than $7 billion, and some believe it could run out of money before the 2020 deadline.

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