YOUR HEALTH: 9/11 first responders’ risk for blood cancer

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in the blood.
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 5:06 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in the blood.

Thirty-four thousand Americans will be diagnosed with the disease this year and 13,000 will die from it.

Now, researchers say 9/11 first responders may be at much higher risk for developing the cancer. Scientists say the first responders may be more likely to suffer from environmental exposures from carcinogens at the disaster site, putting them at risk for multiple myeloma.

“Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer that happens in adults,” says C. Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami.

Dr. Landgren led a team of researchers screening the blood of consenting first responders and firefighters in an initial study. It also involved other men and women who were on site, including police officers and EMS personnel. The blood tests showed high rates of myeloma precursor disease that indicates someone is at risk for developing myeloma.

“That risk was about two times higher compared to the general population,” Dr. Landgren further explains.

There is no cure for multiple myeloma. Dr. Landgren says the study findings suggest that all emergency workers who will be exposed to high levels of carcinogens need to protect their lungs and skin.

“If this is part of the job that individuals have, that they will be provided with appropriate protection devices and also that they use these devices,” Dr. Landgren adds.

Some of the symptoms of multiple myeloma include pain in the back or bones, fatigue, anemia, and loss of appetite. Treatments include chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Click here to report a typo.