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August 10th, 2009
Researchers Question Myeloma Risk to 9/11 Responders

Researchers examine preliminary discoveries that possibly suggest that as a result of the 9/11 attack on the American Twin Towers, responders may be at an increase for risk of cancer of the blood: multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that normally effects the elderly, whereas half of the incidents established are among law enforcement agents below the age of 45.

Dr. Smith, director of the Lymphoma Services at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, warns “This is very preliminary … it could turn out to be a statistical fluke and means nothing or it could be the tip of the iceberg and we’ll see an increase in the next 10 years.”

Despite Smith not participating in the study, he remains concerned with the fact that it “makes biological sense.  There is certain data that multiple myeloma is associated with an increased exposure to certain chemicals.  It has never been shown with inhaled chemicals but this amount of exposure probably did get into the blood.”

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, who led the report as the appointed author adds: “Practitioners should be on the lookout for unusual disease patterns … clinicians should be sensitized to patients coming in with unusual symptoms.  They should think broadly.”

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