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World Trade Center-exposed NYC firefighters face increased cancer risk
Date:9/1/2011

ncet study authors expect this new study will feature prominently in the next NIOSH WTC cancer report scheduled for 2012.

The Lancet study also compared WTC-exposed and non-exposed firefighters with respect to cancer incidence at 15 specific sites in the body and found no sites for which the cancer incidence among WTC-exposed firefighters was significantly increased. However, a trend towards increased risk was noted in 10 of the 15 sites studied. The study noted that this failure to reach statistical significance may have been due to the small sample size available for these site-specific cancers. Analyses accounting for cigarette smoking status in WTC-exposed and non-exposed firefighters were similarly affected by small sample size. The authors note, however, that all nine WTC-exposed firefighters who developed lung cancer were smokers.

In explaining how exposure to WTC dust apparently led to an overall increase in cancer incidence among WTC-exposed firefighters, Dr. Prezant called the finding surprising due to the short latency period but "biologically plausible" because WTC exposure included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxinsall known carcinogens. He noted that WTC exposure also caused chronic inflammation and that such inflammation "has been implicated as a risk factor for cancer in experimental and epidemiological studies."

The study's results, said Dr. Prezant, "support the need to continue monitoring firefighters and others who responded to the World Trade Center disaster or participated in recovery and cleanup at the site. This monitoring should include cancer screening and efforts to prevent cancer from developing in exposed individuals."


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Contact: Kimberly Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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