Background: World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed responders may be eligible to receive no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for certified conditions, including cancer. The survival of responders with cancer has not previously been investigated. Methods: This study compared the estimated relative survival of WTC-exposed responders who developed cancer while enrolled in two WTC medical monitoring and treatment programs in New York City (WTC-MMTP responders) and WTC-exposed responders not enrolled (WTC-non-MMTP responders) to non-responders from New York State (NYS-non-responders), all restricted to the 11-southernmost NYS counties, where most responders resided. Parametric survival models estimated cancer-specific and all-cause mortality. Follow-up ended at death or on December 31, 2016. Results: From January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2016, there were 2,037 cancer cases and 303 deaths (248 cancer-related deaths) among WTC-MMTP responders, 564 cancer cases, and 143 deaths (106 cancer-related deaths) among WTC-non-MMTP responders, and 574,075 cancer cases and 224,040 deaths (158,645 cancer-related deaths) among the NYS-non-responder population. Comparing WTC-MMTP responders with NYS-non-responders, the cancer-specific mortality hazard ratio (HR) was 0.72 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64–0.82), and all-cause mortality HR was 0.64 (95% CI = 0.58–0.72). The cancer-specific HR was 0.94 (95% CI = 0.78–1.14), and all-cause mortality HR was 0.93 (95% CI = 0.79–1.10) comparing WTC-non-MMTP responders to the NYS-non-responder population. Conclusions: WTC-MMTP responders had lower mortality compared with NYS-non-responders, after controlling for demographic factors and temporal trends. There may be survival benefits from no-out-of-pocket-cost medical care which could have important implications for healthcare policy, however, other occupational and socioeconomic factors could have contributed to some of the observed survival advantage.
- World Trade Center
- medical monitoring and treatment
- rescue/recovery work