Health Headlines: Study shows link to first responders and multiple myeloma

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:43 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - While September 11th is a day no American will forget many scientists are still studying the effects the disaster site had on first responders, 21 years later. The health issues that have arisen from those that were exposed to carcinogens on-site are numerous. But a new study is showing that there is an additional risk of responders developing the plasma cell cancer, multiple myeloma.

Dr. C. Ola Landgren with the Cancer Center at the University of Miami explained the condition, “Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer that happens in adults.”

Leading a team of researchers that screened the blood of first responders who were on-site during 9/11, Dr. Landren says their tests showed high rates of myeloma precursor disease which indicates someone is at risk for developing the cancer.

Dr. Landgren says, “That risk was about two times higher compared to the general population.”

There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma. This means, based on Dr. Landgren’s findings, all emergency workers who could be exposed to high levels of carcinogens will need to take precautions to protect their lungs and skin.

“If this is part of the job that individuals have, that they will be provided with appropriate protection devices and also that they use these devices.”

Some symptoms of multiple myeloma include pain in the back or bones, fatigue, anemia, and loss of appetite.

While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, treatments are available such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and small molecule targeted drugs.