Although Congress passed a bill in late 2010 that created a multi-billion dollar fund to treat 9/11 first responders, certain cancers were not covered by the legislation. However, a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report suggested expanding the coverage to include 50 different types of cancer, The Associated Press reports.
The decision has been characterized as a victory for many emergency workers, officer personnel and area residents who became sick in the years after the 2001 attacks. The recommendation will make it possible for people with any of the cancers on the list to get treatment as long as they can show a correlation between the disease and the toxic cloud that settled over lower Manhattan after 9/11.
"It's nice to have the federal government recognize that your cancer was caused by ground zero," Ernie Vallebuona, a former New York City police detective, told the AP. "It's something we've always known. I'm just ecstatic that we are finally being recognized. You almost felt like you were being brushed aside."
Despite the good news, there are still some concerns about funding. According to CBS News, some are concerned the program will run out of money due to the addition of the new cancers. So far, about 60,000 people have enrolled in 9/11 health programs.