Prostate cancer, the most common cancer for men, is still a mystery to science — but 9/11 first responders are giving researchers fresh clues

Prostate cancer is very common, but its causes are not well understood by scientists. A new study in Molecular Cancer Research‘s journal of men with World Trade Center-related prostate cancer may change that, reports Hilary Brueck for Business Insider.

It seems that cells of men with prostate cancer who had World Trade Center dust exposure were more sensitive to cholesterol, which is a warning sign for aggressive prostate cancer.

“[The study]… suggests that the (World Trade Center) dust could have somehow changed the person’s immune system,” the leading author of the  study, William Oh of Mount Sinai said.

Men who were exposed to the World Trade Center wreckage have a 65% increased risk of prostate cancer, as compared to the population at large. Many of the recovery workers diagnosed with prostate cancer are much younger than most of those with the cancer in the general population as well.

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