9/11 Responders Show Increased Risk of Rare Blood Cancer

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2009 12:27 PM CDT
The World Trade Center site is shown Tuesday, May 12, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The incidence of multiple myeloma in 9/11 responders appears to be higher than in the general population, according to what one researcher calls "very preliminary" stats. Eight cases of the blood cancer were diagnosed in 28,000 emergency personnel followed between 2001 and 2007; statistically, that number should be closer to six. And four of the eight men diagnosed, all law enforcement officers, were under 45, very young to have developed the disease, HealthDay News reports.

“A person is 10 times more likely to get myeloma when they're 70 than when they're 45,” the lead author of the study says. The result “could turn out to be a statistical fluke and means nothing or it could be the tip of the iceberg and we'll see an increase in the next 10 years,” an expert says, though “it makes biological sense.”