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Government panel considers WTC cancer claims

Gov't panel considers whether World Trade Center health program should include cancer patients By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' A government panel is considering whether a multibillion-dollar aid program for people sickened by World Trade Center dust should be expanded to include people who have cancer.

Congress has set aside a huge sum of money to pay for medical care for illnesses caused by the ash and soot released when the twin towers fell on Sept. 11. The sick can also get compensation for lost wages and a diminished quality of life.

But the program doesn't cover cancer, which scientists have yet to conclusively link to trade center toxins.

An advisory panel heard testimony in New York on Wednesday and Thursday from doctors, politicians, activists and cancer patients.

The committee's recommendation is due by March 2. Its advice can then either be accepted or rejected by the administrator of the health program.

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