More than 50,000 people have applied for compensation through the fund, CBS News reported. Nearly 29,000 people have received some payment totaling more than $5 billion and more than 16,000 cases are still pending.
Alvarez noted that his cancer didn’t appear until 16 years after his work at Ground Zero, so it’s possible other first responders may still develop illnesses -- and they will need care.
"There's gonna be more and more first responders getting sick, and the government has to take care of them," he said.
Alvarez announced on his Facebook page Tuesday that "there is nothing else doctors can do to fight the cancer," so he had stopped treatment and entered hospice care. He told Fox News that he's "comfortable" and "not in a lot of pain."
Alvarez said he will continue to advocate for his fellow first responders in the time he has left.
"I have no regrets,'' he said. "No regrets whatsoever."
House and Senate leaders said they will hold a vote on a bill to extend the fund, but haven’t set a date, CBS News reported.