15 Years Later And The Threat Of Mesothelioma Still Lingers Around WTC Workers

Although we are now commemorating the 15th anniversary of 9/11, there are still a plethora of effects that are being felt and will continue to be felt over the course of the next few years. One in particular is the deadly carcinogen called asbestos.
09/13/2016 12:44 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2017

This week America mourned and celebrate the lives of many heroes whose lives were cut short on September 11, 2011. On that tragic day America came to a halt in fear and in pain. Although we are now commemorating the 15th anniversary of 9/11 there are still a plethora of effects that are being felt and will continue to be felt over the course of the next few years, one in particular is the deadly carcinogen called asbestos.

Asbestos is a mineral that was once valued because it could be used in construction, industrial and household products. Years later, asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma.

During the massive clean-up of the 9/11 rubble, a toxic cloud was discovered that contained more than 400 tons of asbestos all from the collapse of the twin towers. The ingestion of asbestos during this tragedy has led to several severe health issues including the aggressively rare, mesothelioma. While many health officials are awaiting official numbers of asbestos-related cases the World Trade Center Health Program has seen more than 5,000 people for 9/11 related cancer issues. These numbers alone are increasingly alarming; however, it is predicted that the number will only increase due to the long latency period of 20-50 years after exposure before mesothelioma is evident.

There is still a lot that has not been discovered about mesothelioma and identifying a doctor that can treat it can be even more difficult. Despite the odds doctors assure patients and families that it doesn't have to be a death sentence.

Additionally, it must also be noted that not everyone was exposed to asbestos during the 9/11 clean-up will get mesothelioma. It is possible to spend your entire life around the material and never get the disease. On the flip side, it is possible to only be briefly exposed to asbestos and end up diagnosed with the disease.

In either case, health officials warn that if you have been exposed to asbestos it is your responsibility to get tested to ensure that your exposure has not impacted your health in any capacity. Asbestos itself is severely harmful; however, mesothelioma testing is not. The testing is very expansive and includes x-rays, CT scans and a thoracoscopy. These several tests are vital because mesothelioma can be very hard to diagnose. It is the responsibility of each individual to make sure they stay in tuned with their bodies while constantly monitoring potential symptoms