NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The number of young police officers who responded to the World Trade Center site being diagnosed with cancer since 9/11 is growing in "astronomical numbers," according to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
PBA President Patrick Lynch said 56 police officers have died and 297 others have been diagnosed with cancer.
The cancers range from lung to rarer forms that affect the bile duct, tongue and nasal passages.
Lynch said the average age of the officers at the time of diagnosis is 44.
"Men and women are dying from Sept. 11 exposure and they need to be taken care of," Lynch told 1010 WINS.
An average of 16 police officers now apply annually for cancer-related disabilities. A year before the attacks, that number stood at about six.
"On Sept. 11, without question, our members responded and served," Lynch told 1010 WINS. "Now, they're faced with nothing but questions as to where their cancer came from. It's common sense, young men and women diagnosed with exotic cancers – it came from a toxic cloud on Sept. 11."
The Bloomberg Administration has resisted releasing its own information on cancer rates among police officers citing privacy rules.
"The data needs to be released so we can take care of our members, and that's the city's responsibility," Lynch said. "We took care of our responsibility on Sept. 11, in the attack and the recovery. Now, it's the city's turn."
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