Boston, MA – U.S. flight attendants have a higher prevalence of several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, uterine cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, thyroid cancer, and cervical cancer, when compared with the general public, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study, one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses of cancer among cabin crew members conducted to date, is the first to show that flight attendants in the U.S. also have a higher rate of non-melanoma skin cancer than the general population.
“Our findings of higher rates of several cancers among flight attendants is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in our study population, which highlights the question of what can be done to minimize the adverse exposures and cancers common among cabin crew,” said Irina Mordukhovich, a research fellow at Harvard Chan School and the corresponding author of the paper.
The study will be published online in Environmental Health on June 25, 2018.
Over the course of their careers, flight attendants are regularly exposed to several known and probable carcinogens, including cosmic ionizing radiation, disrupted sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, and possible chemical contaminants in the airplane. Moreover, cabin
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