PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Thursday marked one year since the CDC recognized uterine cancer as a 9/11-related illness so people could get compensation from the World Trade Center Health Program.
Many women were at a disadvantage when it came to the victim compensation program because mainly male first responders registered and their cancers were recognized. Many were originally unaware of the connection or health problems.
"The issue was is that back then it wasn't taken into consideration that anybody that lived, worked, or went to school below Canal Street breathed in the same air as our first responders during the eight months after 9/11, so it took a long time for the government to catch up with the medicine and science to connect the dots between uterine endometrial cancer and the 9/11 toxins," said Sara Director, an attorney at Barasch and McGarry.
Many women, like Stockbridge resident Betty Jo Phieffer, were surprised to think their cancer could be connected to the New York attacks. She moved out of the city over a decade ago.
"It brought some closure to what it's about," Phieffer said. "I have a particular variant form of endometrial cancer, so for me it's been difficult and it's really nice to know. I likely won't be compensated during my lifetime, but my children and husband will get some compensation for it."
People who believe they may be eligible can submit an application on the CDC’s website.