Health Care

Flight attendants may have increased risk for certain cancers

Flight attendants may have increased risk for certain cancers”

Dr Mordukhovich, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the United States, and colleagues found out of the 5,366 USA flight attendants surveyed one-in-seven had been diagnosed with cancer. Melanoma rates were just over 200% higher and non-melanoma skin cancer rates were about 300% higher.Male flight attendants, meanwhile, were about 50% more likely to suffer from melanoma and 10% more likely to have non-melanoma skin cancer.

Cancer rates in male flight attendants were almost 50 percent higher for melanoma and about 10 percent higher for nonmelanoma skin cancers compared with men from the general population group, according to the findings. Data showed a higher prevalence of breast, uterine, thyroid, gastrointestinal and cervical cancers among cabin crew members.

"This is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in this occupational group", she said in a statement.

Flight crews are routinely exposed to known and probable carcinogens, including cosmic radiation from space, circadian rhythm disruption, and possible chemical contaminants. "Consistent with previous studies, we report a higher lifetime prevalence of breast, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers among flight crew relative to the general population".

A study of more than 5,000 USA flight attendants has shown they have higher rates of certain cancers than the general public.

Irina Mordukhovich, corresponding author of the study, said the research is one of "the largest and most comprehensive studies of cancer among cabin crew to date". Women cabin crew, in particular, were more likely to develop breast, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Working at 36,000 feet may come with a medical issue: flight attendants could be at an increased cancer risk compared to those of us who don't fly as often, a new study finds.

In fact, it wasn't until 2014 that United States flight attendants got protections from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration like other American workers, but even today, those protections are limited, Mordukhovich said. And yet, for the attendants themselves, the job is particularly unsafe when considering the cancer risks.

Flight attendants also have disrupted sleep schedules, since they frequently cross time zones and aren't able to maintain a regular circadian wake-sleep cycle.

Cancer Research UK has warned people working in these occupations should be fully aware of the potential risks. This type of radiation is particularly damaging to DNA and is a known cause of breast cancer and nonmelanoma skin cancer, she said. The current study used information from the 2014 to 2015 survey and compared it to health outcomes from 2,729 control subjects who were matched for socioeconomic status.

Measures included monitoring radiation doses and organising work schedules.

Air cabin crews receive the highest yearly dose of ionizing radiation on the job of all US workers, she added.

In all, 5,366 attendants working on domestic and global flights in the U.S. were examined.

Dr Heutelbeck has also been treating passengers who are frequent flyers as well.

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