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August 27, 2015

Marcy Borders, 9/11 'Dust Lady,' dies of cancer at age 42

Borders and others suspect cancer may be related to the tragic event

Marcy Borders, a Sept. 11 survivor who became a national symbol of perseverance after a harrowing portrait circulated of her covered in dust and fleeing the crumbling World Trade Center, has died of stomach cancer at age 42, her family said.

In her life, Borders, known as the “Dust Lady,” also stood for something else – the physical and emotional aftermath of 9/11.

In a 2014 interview with the Jersey Journal, Borders outlined her struggles with depression and substance abuse after the attacks, as well as her cancer diagnosis, which she thought may have been related to 9/11.

She was not alone in that hypothesis: A growing body of research has linked cancer, and other diseases, to the 9/11 attacks.

According to government-sponsored research of nearly 21,000 WTC responders conducted from 2001 to 2008 and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers have an estimated 15 percent greater risk than the general population of developing cancer.  

In addition, 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.

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, Women’s Health Magazine reports.