Friday 14 December 2018 ,
Latest News
  • Dr Kamal’s motorcade comes under attack at Mirpur
  • Oikyafront wants PM’s 2-term limit
  • Detect conspiracy behind violence: CEC
  • 4 die falling off train roof
  • President, PM pay tributes to martyred intellectuals
  • US moves closer to declaring genocide in Myanmar
29 June, 2018 11:00:56 AM

Print

Flight attendants show higher cancer risks

Independent Online Desk
Flight attendants show higher cancer risks

Flight attendants may face higher-than-average risks of breast and skin cancers, a new study finds -- though the reasons why aren't yet clear.

Harvard researchers found that compared with women in the general US population, female flight attendants had a 51 per cent higher rate of breast cancer. Meanwhile, their rates of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers were about two to four times higher, respectively.

The study, which included over 5,300 US flight attendants, is not the first to find heightened cancer risks among airline crews.

But it's one of the largest and most comprehensive to look at the issue, according to lead researcher Eileen McNeely.

What's still unclear is why the pattern is being seen.

And because it's what's called an observational study, it could not prove cause and effect.

Flight crews have a number of exposures that could potentially play a role, said McNeely, an instructor in environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"There's been a lot of speculation about exposure to cosmic ionizing radiation," she said.

That refers to radiation that comes from outer space. At flight altitudes, people are exposed to higher levels of it. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that of all US workers exposed to radiation, aircrew have the highest average levels.

But no one knows for sure whether cosmic radiation is to blame for flight attendants' higher cancer risks, McNeely said.

Aircrews can also come in contact with a number of chemicals, she noted. And before smoking bans went into effect, they were habitually breathing secondhand smoke.

Plus, McNeely said, flight crews deal with constant time-zone changes and irregular sleep schedules -- which means many disruptions to the body's circadian rhythm, or "internal clock."

Circadian disruptions from shift work have been linked to increased risks of obesity and diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

"It's hard to tease out which of those factors might be more important than others, or whether it's a combination of all of them," McNeely said.

However, it's also possible that there are factors unrelated to flight attendants' jobs, said Dr Paolo Boffetta, a professor of oncology and environmental medicine at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, in New York City.

"For example, they may have more UV [sun] exposure because of their opportunity to travel," said Boffetta, who was not involved in the study.

In addition, he said, women on aircrews may put off having children or have fewer kids, compared with other women. And reproductive factors like that are associated with the risk of breast cancer.

Still, McNeely said, her team found some evidence that the longer flight attendants had been on the job, the higher their cancer risk was. Among women, the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer rose in tandem with job tenure.

That supports the theory that job exposures are the culprit, McNeely said.

The findings, published June 25 in the journal Environmental Health, are based on 5,366 flight attendants who were part of an ongoing Harvard study begun in 2007.

They were surveyed about their health in 2014-15, when they were an average age of 52 years old. McNeely's team compared their cancer rates with a nationally representative sample of 2,729 adults with similar demographics.

Overall, 3.4 per cent of female attendants had been diagnosed with breast cancer, versus 2.3 per cent of other US women. Meanwhile, 2.2 per cent had been diagnosed with melanoma, compared with just under 1 per cent of other women.

Health Day

SI

Comments

Poll
Today's Question »
Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal has described the attack on his motorcade near the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial an act of disrespect to the martyrs. Do you agree?
 Yes
 No
 No Comment
Yes 83.3%
No 16.7%
No Comment 0.0%
Video

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting