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One of the biggest programs tracking the World Trade Center site workers health, said several workers have developed a rare blood cell cancer. The research has spiked fears that cancer will become a “third wave” of illness amongst those that were exposed to toxic dust after September 11.

Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said researchers who have screened 20,000 of the estimated 40,000 ground zero workers are “most concerned” about lymphatic and blood cancer cases.

“We’re worried about a third wave, which is the possibility of cancer down the road,” Herbert said in an audiotaped interview posted on the New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site.

“The kind of thing that worries us is that we know we have a handful of cases of multiple myeloma in very young individuals, and multiple myeloma is a condition that … almost always presents later in life,” she added. “That’s the kind of odd, unusual and troubling finding that we’re seeing already.”

Previously, Doctors had said it was too soon to know if cancer could be linked to the trade center dust exposure. Although, Mount Sinai had published research last year that said approximately 70 percent of the workers they screened did suffer from respiratory illness.

An article that was published Thursday, in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that while workers did inhale cancer causing chemicals, associated increased risk for respiratory tract cancer and other types of cancer will not be apparent for decades.

Researches from the University of Rochester and Johns Hopkins University suggest tracking diseases for two decades or more through a New York City-based health registry that will monitor residents’ and workers’ health issued for the next 20 years.

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