The Woman in This Iconic 9/11 Photo Just Died of Cancer

August 26, 2015
She speculated in the past that her illness may have been linked to the tragic event.

A woman who was featured in an iconic photo taken after the September 11 attacks has died of stomach cancer, her family announced on Facebook.

 

Hey Faces, Please keep my Family the Borders Family in prayer for We lost our very own hero Marcy Borders .May God Comfort .us in our time of sorrow. My emotions are all over the place right now.

Posted by Elnardo Borders on Monday, August 24, 2015

Marcy Borders, who worked in the World Trade Center, was featured in a haunting photo, covered in dust, after fleeing the building before it collapsed. She was just 42 when she died.

Marcy struggled with depression and substance abuse after the attacks and told the Jersey Journal last year that she thought her cancer was related to 9/11.

RELATED: 5 Cancer Myths You Should Stop Believing Right Now

"I'm saying to myself, 'Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?'” she told the paper. "I definitely believe it because I haven't had any illnesses. I don't have high blood pressure ... high cholesterol, diabetes. ...  How do you go from being healthy to waking up the next day with cancer?" 

Unforunately, Marcy isn’t the first 9/11 survivor to develop cancer.

In 2012, many forms of cancer were added to the list of illnesses covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which established the World Trade Center Health Program. (The program provides monitoring and treatment services for 9/11-related health problems.)

The cancer addition came after a growing body of research has linked the disease to the 9/11 attacks.

World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers have a 15 percent greater risk of developing cancer, according to government-sponsored research of nearly 21,000 WTC responders that was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2013. Those cancers included thyroid, prostate, blood, lymph, and soft-tissue cancers. Worth noting: The study was conducted from 2001 to 2008, and it’s possible more people exposed to 9/11 dust and debris have developed cancer since then.  

RELATED: Be Aware: Your Tattoos Could Cause False-Positive Results for Cancer

Firefighters are also at risk: A 2011 study of 9,853 firefighters found that those who worked at Ground Zero were 19 percent more likely to develop cancer than those who didn’t.

And a 2012 study of 56,000 people, including ones who lived or worked near the World Trade Center, found that those who were near Ground Zero had a 14 percent increase in all forms of cancer, plus higher rates of developing multiple myeloma, thyroid, and prostate cancer.

Anton Bilchik, M.D., Ph.D., chief of medicine and chief of gastrointestinal research at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, says the 9/11 attacks are more strongly linked with respiratory and autoimmune illnesses—but he adds that it’s possible that a stronger association between cancer and 9/11 will develop over time.

“There may be more cancers down the road,” he said. “9/11 wasn’t that long ago, and some cancers take longer to develop.” He specifically cites mesothelioma, which can develop after a person is exposed to high doses of asbestos.

Bilchik says more research is needed to find a stronger link between the 9/11 attacks and cancer, which may come with more time. “There may be a lot more that we discover in the next five to 10 years related to 9/11 that we don’t have the evidence for now,” he says.

RELATED: 6 Women Share How Getting Cancer Completely Changed Their Life Perspectives

If you or someone you know has become ill as a result of exposure to 9/11 dust and debris, please contact the World Trade Center Health Program for help with care and treatment.

911-survivor.jpg
Previous Article
The Persistent Thought Women Have That Makes Them Gain Weight
The Persistent Thought Women Have That Makes Them Gain Weight

And how to finally get your head in...

Next Article
25 Ways to Beat Morning Sickness That Actually Work
25 Ways to Beat Morning Sickness That Actually Work

Pick your head up (out of the toilet...