World Trade Center Health Program to Provide Recommendation on Whether to Add Uterine Cancer to List of Covered Conditions
Washington, DC – Yesterday, the CDC announced that they would study whether to add uterine cancer as a covered condition under the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) at a meeting of the WTCHP Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (WTCHP STAC), to be held on September 28th and 29th. Uterine cancer is the only reproductive cancer not currently covered under the program, and previous efforts to secure coverage for the condition have been prevented in part due to the limited sample size of women among World Trade Center responders.
In late July, Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) led 20 other members of Congress in advocating for an expedited decision to add uterine cancer to the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions, and asking for parity in coverage between male and female responders. Her letter followed a September 2020 petition from the scientists and doctors at the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Rutgers University, where they identified a plausible link between the toxins found in World Trade Center dusts and uterine cancer.
“I’m honored to have led the effort this summer to push for an expedited decision from the World Trade Center Health Program on this issue. First responders and survivors who’ve battled the burden of uterine cancer have endured a 20 year wait without adequate recognition or medical support, but we’re making progress to fix that,” said Rep. Sherrill. “I look forward to this matter appearing before the Scientific Technical Advisory Committee and am hoping for a rapid decision to finally ensure equitable coverage for these brave women.”
“I am really excited that the STAC committee will be meeting to consider the relationship between endocrine disrupting chemicals present at the 9-11 disaster site and hopefully add uterine cancer as a covered condition,” said Dr. Iris Udasin of Clinical Center of Excellence at Rutgers University. “I am grateful for the help of the Congresswoman in helping to get our petition considered by the committee.”
“The CDC’s announcement that its Science and Technical Advisory Committee will review Dr. Udasin’s and the other WTC Health Program Clinic Directors letter in support of adding this cancer to the list of covered conditions, will be an important step in the process to add uterine cancer under the Zadroga statute,” said Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of 911 Health Watch.
“Unfortunately, I became aware of the exclusion of uterine cancer from the World Trade Center Health Programs list of approved cancers when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer as a result of volunteering at Ground Zero for nine months. Once I recovered, I made it my mission to correct this oversight and to benefit the other women who were also affected,” said Dr. Tammy Kaminski. “The World Trade Center Health Program is a wonderful organization and it’s New Jersey Director, Dr. Iris Udasin (who provided the scientific causality between the toxins at Ground Zero and uterine cancer), guided the mission in the right direction. After I reached out to Congresswoman Sherrill, she and her staff were extremely productive in bringing attention to this issue. I am greatly appreciative to all who are contributing.”
In addition to those killed during the 9/11 attacks, thousands have tragically suffered illness and some have died of their conditions as a result of injuries sustained in the attack or its aftermath from exposure to toxic substances found in dust and debris from Ground Zero. The World Trade Center Health Program provides critical medical treatment for eligible first responders and survivors of the attacks. More information on the WTCHP STAC review of whether to add uterine cancer to the list of covered conditions, as well as information on how the public can comment on that decision, can be found here.