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Feds will now provide health coverage to women with 9/11-linked cancer

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday added uterine cancer to the list of health conditions covered by a 9/11 health program.

“I’m grateful the World Trade Center Health Program has added all types of uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th Dist.

“This will ensure 9/11 survivors and heroic first responders receive the care and treatment they need for uterine cancer without cost-sharing. While we certainly can never fully repay our nation’s deep gratitude to those who bravely responded during one of our nation’s darkest hours, I’m relieved the WTC Health Program will now cover all types of cancer.”

Pallone, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over HHS, had pushed the agency to act following a report by The Fuller Project and Reckon, a sister newsroom of NJ.com.

In August, another group of lawmakers, including Reps. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th Dist., and Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist., asked HHS to add uterine cancer to the list of 9/11-linked diseases. The lawmakers said at the time that uterine cancer was the only major cancer not covered by the program.

Federal officials said they initially did not include uterine cancer because they didn’t have enough data linking the illness to exposure to chemicals after 9/11. But the Fuller Project reported that health care researchers said the program overlooked women and focused primarily on conditions more likely to affect men.

There were fewer than 10,000 women in the original pool of 62,171 first responders and those who lived, worked, or went to school near Ground Zero. While women make up about half of those eligible, they account for only 26,125 of the 114,775 members of the 9/11 health program.

Reckon, a sister newsroom of NJ Advance Media, is an award-winning national news organization that covers the people powering change, the challenges shaping our time, and what it means for all of us.

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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him at @JDSalant.

Jonathan D. Salant

Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Jonathan D. Salant, an award-winning political reporter and former president of the National Press Club, is the Washington correspondent for NJ Advance Media.

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