According to a recent study that examined more than 5,000 U.S. flight attendants, these airline crew members were found to have higher than average rates of contracting certain kinds of cancers. Among them, breast, melanoma and types of skin cancers were found to be more prevalent for those in this occupation compared to the general population.
Moreover, this is one occupational group that is also known for at least keeping themselves healthy as well. "This is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in this occupational group," Irina Mordukhovich, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, pointed out about the population they have studied.
Mordukhovich and her team's results have been published on Monday, June 25 in the journal Environmental Health.
It's a relatively small group, with just over 15 percent of the 5,366 U.S. flight attendants who participated in the study having reported a cancer diagnosis. Even then, the rate is already considered to be higher for this occupation compared to the general public, and the trend holds for each type of cancer they compared, as The Guardian pointed out.
The statistics for breast cancer stood out in particular. For flight crew members, 3.4 percent of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. That's more than one percent higher than the 2.3 percent rate for the general population.
For uterine cancer, it's 0.15 percent for the flight crew compared to 0.13 percent in the general population. Cervical cancer is likewise the same — 1 percent for the former and 0.7 percent for the latter.
Gastrointestinal cancer is 0.47 percent for flight attendants, while it's 0.27 percent for the rest. Thyroid cancer, meanwhile, showed up in 0.67 percent of the flight crews surveyed, still higher than the 0.56 percent for the population in general, as listed out by the Business Insider.