Smithsonian Magazine reports that flight attendants are exposed to a number of possible or probable cancer-causing factors that may lead to an increased risk for many cancers.
JUNE 27, 2018
The comparison revealed higher rates of uterine, cervical, breast, gastrointestinal, thyroid and melanoma cancers among flight attendants. The disparity was especially pronounced with breast, melanoma and non-melanoma cancers. Flight attendants had more than double the risk of developing melanoma, and more than quadruple the risk of developing non-melanoma cancers. They were also 51 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than the general population.
To the researchers’ surprise, they found a higher risk of breast cancer in female flight attendants with three or more children; typically, a woman’s risk of breast cancer decreases as she has more children.
“This study is the first to show higher prevalences of all cancers studied, and significantly higher prevalences of non-melanoma skin cancer compared to a similarly matched U.S. sample population,” lead study author Eileen McNeely of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tells Lisa Rapaport of Reuters. McNeely also notes that “[n]on-melanoma skin cancer among women increased with more years on the job, suggesting a work-related association.”
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