NYPD Honors Flores for Work with Asbestos-Related Diseases

Treatment & Doctors
Reading Time: 4 mins
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Povtak, T. (2020, October 16). NYPD Honors Flores for Work with Asbestos-Related Diseases. Asbestos.com. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2017/11/13/nypd-honors-raja-flores-mesothelioma/

MLA

Povtak, Tim. "NYPD Honors Flores for Work with Asbestos-Related Diseases." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2017/11/13/nypd-honors-raja-flores-mesothelioma/.

Chicago

Povtak, Tim. "NYPD Honors Flores for Work with Asbestos-Related Diseases." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2017/11/13/nypd-honors-raja-flores-mesothelioma/.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill recently appointed mesothelioma specialist Dr. Raja Flores to the Society of Honorary Police Surgeons.

The prestigious appointment stems from Flores’ continued, long-running service to so many first responders — particularly policemen and firemen from the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack in 2001.

Although Flores has received many honors throughout his medical career, this one might be his most appreciated.

“This is a huge honor for me,” Flores told Asbsetos.com. “I come from a family of cops. Police work is in my blood. My grandfather and grandmother were cops. My uncles were cops, too. It truly is a privilege to serve these men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day.”

Flores, a thoracic surgeon at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, has been involved in the aftermath of 9/11 since Day 1. He was there in the emergency room helping care for victims immediately afterward.

A Kinship with Police

He is there today — 16 years later — at the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai, doing follow-up care that includes monitoring, surgical treatment and support for the rescue and recovery workers, including many from the police force.

“I’ve taken care of a lot of cops and firemen in this program. I’ve operated on a lot of them,” he said. “I’m familiar with the culture. That’s important when treating them. There is a huge amount of pride there. There is the do-the-right-thing attitude, the great moral compass. Understanding that culture really helps me treat them.”

His role will continue — and likely grow — in the coming years because of his expertise treating asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, which can take 20 to 50 years to develop.

Although the memory of 9/11 is beginning to fade, the biggest threat of asbestos-related diseases is just beginning.

It stems from the weeks of rescue and cleanup efforts done under the toxic cloud that blanketed the area and contained more than 400 tons of pulverized asbestos, all released from the rubble of the twin towers.

Nearly 7,000 survivors and first responders have been diagnosed with some form of 9/11-related cancer.

Mesothelioma is not among the top 15 cancers found in the WTC Health Program, but that is expected to change in the coming years.

Monitoring Is Important Today

Responders and survivors have been encouraged to undergo annual CT scans, which can provide early warning signs for serious health issues such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

“Over the next few years, I think we’re going to see an uptick. We have been seeing more and more changes of the pleura [lining around the lungs],” he said. “We’re seeing changes that could predispose them to mesothelioma. Not enough time has passed yet, but I still believe we’re going to see that in the future.”

Flores compares the upcoming asbestos-disease problem from the WTC to what has happened in Libby, Montana, where 70 years of mining in a small town led to the longest-running asbestos health disaster in American history.

Although the mining stopped in 1990, new health issues continue to arise today for those who once worked there or lived in the surrounding area.

More than 400 Libby residents died from asbestos-related diseases and an estimated 3,000 have been sickened.

The asbestos dust traveled for miles, endangering everyone who lived nearby.

“I don’t have data to back it up, but there are going to be a significant number who develop problems in the future,” Flores said of 9/11 survivors and first responders. “We have to make sure we take good care of them.”

Flores was one of 13 physicians honored by the NYPD last month. It was designed to recognize expertise in a particular medical specialty.

The Society of Honorary Police Surgeons allows members of the police force, when medical help is required, to identify a specialist who best fits their needs.

“They need a special type of doctor, not someone who just treats them, but someone who understands them,” Flores said. “I know the culture well. My best friend today is a cop. When I look back, it seems like everyone I grew up with became either a cop or a criminal.”

Medically Reviewed by Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Free Mesothelioma Guide