Published: Вт, Июня 26, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Flight attendants exposed to greater risk of cancers

This includes cancers of the breast, cervix, skin, thyroid and uterus, as well as gastrointestinal system cancers, which include colon, stomach, esophageal, liver and pancreatic cancers.

These elevated cancer rates were observed despite indications of good-health behaviors, such as low levels of smoking and obesity, in the flight-attendant group as a whole, the study authors said. The flight attendants answered questions about their flight schedules, as well as any diagnoses of cancer.

Researchers also couldn't say whether tumours developed before or after participants started working as flight attendants.

Dr Irina Mordukhovich, one of the report's authors, said: "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".

The Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study (FAHS), begun in 2007, addresses some of the gaps in understanding health risks among flight attendants.

"But we were surprised to replicate a recent finding that exposure to work as a flight attendant was related to breast cancer exclusively among women with three or more children", she said.

United States flight attendants may be more likely than other Americans to develop several types of cancer including tumours of the breast, uterus, cervix, thyroid and skin, new research suggests.

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Flight crews are routinely exposed to known and probable carcinogens, including cosmic radiation from space, circadian rhythm disruption, and possible chemical contaminants.

(Other radiation workers have certain occupational safety regulations in place to protect them from exposure and restrict risky exposure.) The European Union regulates flight attendant schedules and flying time of pregnant flight attendants to limit potentially unsafe exposures.

Air crews have the largest average annual effective dose of all radiation-exposed workers in the US, according to 2009 findings by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

Researchers asked 5,366 flight attendants and 2,729 other adults with similar socioeconomic backgrounds whether they had ever been diagnosed with cancer. They also suffer disruption to the body clock through irregular and anti-social shift patterns and poor air quality.

Taking age into account, the study found a higher prevalence of cancer in flight crew for every type of cancer examined.

A separate study in April involving almost 6,100 United States flight attendants found no meaningful link between cosmic radiation or circadian rhythm disruption and several cancers.

There is a higher risk of breast cancer in women never had children and women who had three or more children, according to the study.

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