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Study Suggests Flight Attendants May Be At Higher Risk For Cancer

A recent study found cancer is more prevalent among flight attendants than the general public.
Posted at 2:23 PM, Jun 26, 2018

Flight attendants may be at a higher risk for developing certain types of cancers. 

That's according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health. Researchers found crew members reported being diagnosed with cancers like breast, uterine, cervical, gastrointestinal, thyroid, and certain types of skin cancer more than the general public. 

Specifically, the study found female flight attendants reported having a higher rate of breast, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers compared results from the self-reported Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Researchers say the findings could be linked to the amount of carcinogens crew members are exposed to while on the job. According to the study, flight attendants are exposed to more ionizing radiation than any other U.S. worker. This type of radiation has been linked to some types of cancer.

The study also suggests a disruption to a person's circadian rhythm — such as jet lag — could be at fault, as well as the poor air quality circulated on planes.

Although they didn't specifically look into it, researchers say the findings could also apply to passengers and frequent flyers.