The incidence of thyroid cancer among first responders who volunteered or were employed as firefighters, rescue personnel and cleanup workers at Ground Zero in New York on or after September 11, 2001, is three times higher than that in the general population.
This difference has been confirmed by a method involving a panel of four biomarkers that distinguish benign from malignant thyroid cancer cases on the basis of gene expression. The tests were developed by researchers at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) in Brazil in collaboration with colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the United States. The study was supported by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP as part of the Thematic Project.
The reasons for the increase in thyroid cancer incidence, revealed by previous research, are unclear. On 9/11 and for a long period thereafter, WTC responders searched for survivors in the debris and gave victims first aid after the deadliest foreign attack ever on US soil. Two hijacked passenger airliners crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) in Manhattan, causing the collapse of the Twin Towers. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. A fourth plane fell in a field in
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