Posted on: June 21, 2019 at 11:29 am
Last updated: December 2, 2019 at 8:03 pm

On September 11, 2001, Luis Alvarez was one of the many courageous first responders at Ground Zero. He endured weeks of exposure to pulverized dust containing toxins in order to rescue 9/11 victims. Like many of those first responders, Alvarez has faced devastating medical repercussions from that tragic day. (1)


The World Trade Center Health Program provides screenings and quality healthcare to the survivors and responders of the September 11th attacks. According to the CDC, tens of thousands of affected people have relied on the Health Program to secure treatment for conditions directly related to the 2001 event.

The most common conditions include chronic rhinosinusitis, GERD, asthma, cancer, sleep apnea, PTSD, chronic respiratory disorder, COPD, anxiety disorders, and depression. (2)


Only 5 years after 9/11, former U.S. Marine and NYPD bomb squad detective, Alvarez was diagnosed with an advanced case of colorectal cancer. His son, David Alvarez, was deeply affected by his father’s diagnosis. In a 2017 interview with the New York Daily News, David recounts the toll that the disease took:

“(My father’s) always been a strong, proud man, to admit to this disease was really difficult for him. It was really difficult to digest. For the past year he’s been fighting it. In all that time I felt like there was very little I can do, besides just listening to him and giving him space when he needed it.” (3)

But recently, Luis Alvarez has decided to share his story, in the hopes of preserving the livelihood of men and women just like him. Alvarez continues to fight cancer tooth and nail, and has endured almost 70 rounds of chemotherapy.

“I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer… are valued less than anyone else because of when they get sick, they die. I’ve been lucky enough to have had 68 rounds of chemo. Many others haven’t had the opportunity to have five. And some have had none. Their families would love to have time with them.” (4)


Alvarez spoke at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019. The hearing took place before a 14-person subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Congress had initially stocked the World Trade Centre Health Program with $7.4 billion intended to last through December 2020, however, more than $5 billion has already been spent to cover the illnesses of over 20,000 survivors and responders affected. (5)

“It is my goal, and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders. Please understand that we are not here for anything for ourselves,” said Alvarez. (4)

Watch Luis Alvarez’ Full Testimony Below:

On June 18th, Alvarez posted on his public Facebook account that there is nothing more his medical care providers can do for him. He is currently in hospice, but says he is continuing to fight.

Earlier this year Alvarez shared his optimism about self-prescribed holistic treatments.

“I’ve been doing a lot of research for supplements for liver cancer, just in case I decided to stop doing chemo. After 68 rounds I’m not getting the results I think I should. Next Wednesday I have a CT scan and if it shows no improvement. I’m going to stop chemo and turn to the holistic route.

I’m not quitting the battle, just taking a different approach. One supplement I have been taking is called Resveratol. It is made from red grape seed extract. It fights the tumors in your liver and eases the side effects of the chemo, especially one of the chemos I’m taking, it’s like drinking a glass of red wine everyday without that alcohol. Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle both cleanse the liver of the bad enzymes. All these herbs I believe are helping me.

When I asked my oncologist about what she thought about Resveratol she told me she never heard of it! Even though I found plenty of information and studies done on it… Just so you know this is not medical advice, it’s just the choices I’m making to battle for My health. Still here, Still Breathing, Still fighting. God Bless- Lou”

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Maria Sykes
Team Writer
Marie Sykes is an Ontario based writer with a background in research and a love for holistic wellness. She's especially interested in boosting awareness for women's health issues. Once a shunner of gyms, Marie has found an appreciation for weight training and HIIT circuits. She enjoys trying cuisine from all over the world, and she also enjoys not caring two cents what other people think her body should look like.

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