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9/11 WTC Responders: Cancer Risks, Pulmonary Function, Immune Homeostasis, Balance, A Personal Note

Posted on Monday, September, 12th, 2011 by Dr. Hellen in Chronic Disease | Immune Homeostasis (Immune Balance) | Inflammation

This is the second part of a two day posting. Please see yesterday’s posting for the introduction to this posting. Thank you.

Cancer Risks

Responders are 19% more likely to develop cancer than their non-exposed colleagues, with skin, prostate, thyroid, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, being the most common of the cancers. Many of the airborne toxins to which individuals were exposed, benzene, volatile organics, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pulverized building materials, glass fibers, asbestos, lead, hydrochloric acid, polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated dioxins and furans are linked to causing cancer.

Cancer is an illness that may take years to develop and detect. Dr. Ware Kuschner, Stanford School of Medicine, CA says, “Carcinogenic effects, if any, will not be observed for a very long period of time.” [As an aside, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, eight search and rescue dogs have died from cancer since their exposure to rubble from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.]

 

Pulmonary Function Declines

We do not have sufficient data from the general population residing and working in lower Manhattan, nor detailed health information of individuals that returned to their home states or countries after their contributions to rescue efforts. However, of the rescue, recovery, and clean-up personnel that were monitored, 42% have respiratory problems.

Steep declines in pulmonary function were first detected after 9/11 and they have largely persisted. Over the last nine years, 28% of those monitored have had asthma and 42% sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses). They also suffer from upper airway cough syndrome (UACS) and sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the tissues of the body. There has been a 36-fold increase in the number of individuals with this disease that can affect the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, heart, liver, and brain. The hallmarks of the disease are clusters of inflammatory cells throughout the body and often, significant, life-altering declines in breathing and other bodily functions.

 Inflamamtion: The Body’s Defense Against Perceived Threats

The immune system mounts an immune, inflammatory response when the body is exposed to pathogens, pollutants, or toxins. The inflammatory cells release immune factors, such as cytokines, cellular messages, that are involved in cell-to-cell communication with the “purpose” of recruiting more inflammatory cells into an area to help eliminate a perceived threat.

Pollutants and chemicals can trigger airway inflammation and increase mucous production. Other immune molecules cause narrowing of airways resulting in the contraction of the muscles lining the airways. The combination of inflammation and increased mucous makes it difficult for air to enter or leave the lungs and can result in breathing issues.

Additionally, lungs that do not function properly, areideal for the multiplication of molds, bacteria, and viruses. The lungs continue their struggle to eliminate pollutants and pathogens, resulting in a chronic, persistent, dry cough and worsened lung function.

 Immune Homeostasis, Immune Balance

A healthy person produces the right amount of inflammation in response to environmental and biological challenges. If WTC responders and others involved in rescue and clean-up of the 9/11 destruction, were able to control the amount of inflammation in their bodies , the body could finally start its healing process. Returning the body to inflammatory homeostasis, to inflammatory balance, would result in significant differences in the quality of their lives.

 

A Personal Note

It has been my conviction for years that a compromised immune system is at the root of the majority of health issues of World Trade Center responders, recovery and clean-up workers.

As a former New Yorker, I, as most Americans and overseas friends, took the attacks on America’s premier city personally and we still feel-grief and compassion, especially around this time of the year.

But what has really gnawed at me all these years is that surviving workers,–individuals who thought only of others and risked their lives to help despite terrible odds, are still suffering emotionally and physically.

I have been frustrated by my inability to reach the right people to share my decades long experience suggesting a different approach to helping individuals regain their health.

Based on decades of working with individuals having immune issues, I am confident that World Trade Centers workers would experience major quality of life changes if they were able to help their body regain its delicate balance—return to its optimum immune homeostasis.

These brave souls have visited physician after physician, clinic after clinic without a solution to what ails them. Ten years of searching for answers is long enough. It is now time for these individuals to take control of their own health by helping their bodies return to inflammatory homeostasis, balance.

I am not a health practitioner, but I am a scientist who can provide the facts to you. You will know within a short period of time whether or not my suggestions work for you.

I encourage you to contact me so we can start on the journey.

Resources:

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/02/world-trade-centre-rescuers-health-risk

www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60989-6/abstract

www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61180-X/abstract

www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(01)00543-5/fulltext

www.home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc/html/know/mental.shtml

 

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