NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880) – Federal lawmakers are calling on the administrator of the national Sept. 11 health program to consider adding cancer to a list of diseases that qualify for assistance.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell At Ground Zero

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U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Michael Grimm, and Peter King announced Wednesday that they are filing a petition to request the change.

They say a new medical study supports the argument for including cancer to the program.

“Now we need to make this law stronger, have it cover those of us that are sick and dying,” said police union president Pat Lynch.

“This is a matter of life and death. They need our support now,” said Grimm.

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“It would be inhuman to wait for more and more evidence,” said Nadler.

“We need to take the last three years, and I’m telling you right now, that we’ll see an uptick of 30 percent easily,” said former firefighter Kenny Specht, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The study had failed to find a significant increase in overall cancer rates among firefighters exposed to World Trade Center dust, but it did note a few potentially worrisome trends, including an unexpected number of thyroid cancers.

This summer, the 9/11 health program administrator declined to add cancer to the list of covered diseases, saying there wasn’t enough evidence of a link.

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