CDC enrolls 5,400 in program for cancer linked to 9/11 attacks

As of June 30, the CDC's World Trade Center Health Program enrolled more than 5,400 people with cancer diagnoses linked to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to CNN.

The latest figures are triple the number of people enrolled in the program since January 2014, when 1,822 people were enrolled, according to the report. The number of people diagnosed with cancer enrolling in the program from January 2013 to January 2016 has steadily increased by an average of 1,525 people per year.

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"We continue to do outreach efforts to see who is eligible and out there," said Christy Spring, public affairs specialist for the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, according to CNN.

The CDC issues certifications when a person is approved for treatment within the program. The WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and treatment for those who helped after the terrorist attacks, as well as for those who were affected by the dust in the aftermath of the attack.  Those enrolled in the program have been diagnosed with 6,378 separate cancers, including people who have been diagnosed with more than one type of cancer linked to the 9/11 attacks. Many of the diagnoses are believed to be caused by exposure to known and suspected carcinogens and pollutants after the attacks, according to the report.

Among those in the program, 4,692 include first responders, emergency responders, recovery and cleanup workers, as well as volunteers who helped after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the crash site near Shanksville, Pa. The other 749 people either lived, worked or went to school near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 or during the following months. Nearly half of the 5,441 people with cancer diagnoses in the program are between 55 and 64 years old.

In addition to cancer linked to the terrorist attacks, more than 12,000 people have been diagnosed with 9/11-related mental health conditions and more than 32,000 have been diagnosed with aero-digestive issues, such as asthma, chronic cough, gastroesophageal reflux disorder or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the report.

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