September 11 Terrorist Attacks Could Have Raised Prostate Cancer Risk, Says Study
9/11 attacks (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

A new study says that men who were exposed to toxic dust in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks could be at increased risk of prostate cancer. Researchers from Mount Sinai uncovered the link between the 9/11 attacks and prostate cancer in the first responders to the scene. The study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research says that the inflammation in the prostate region of these men was activated when they rushed to tend to the situation at the disaster site. Although many experts had hypothesised the link between 9/11 and prostate cancer, the new study conclusively links the two. International Men's Health Week 2019: 8 Medical Tests That Every Man Must Take and Why!

The researchers who carried out the study looked at 15 male subjects, who were the first responders to the scene of the terrorist attack. These men had later developed prostate cancer. They were compared to a group of another 15 men who had prostate cancer, but were exposed to the toxic dust.

The researchers examined the genes in the tumours developed by these men. There was a difference in the tumours in both the sets of subjects. An inflammatory T cell, Th 17, was more in the men who were exposed to the dust.

The researchers tested the theory on rats. When they used the preserved dust samples from the World Trade Center on the animals, the Th 17 cells in the prostate increased. This further validated the link between the toxic dust and prostate cancer in men.

Health Effects After September 11 Attacks

The large scale destruction followed in the financial district of Lower Manhattan when terrorists rammed two passenger airliners in the North and South towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Just seconds after the attack, fine, burnt toxic debris from building materials, electronics and furniture were released into the air. Over the years, inhaling the toxic dust have resulted in the spike in health issues such as cancer, respiratory disorder, sleep apnea, PTSD, depression and anxiety.