A new study suggests that flight attendants are more likely to get certain types of cancer than the general population. Researchers believe that chronic sleep loss, busy schedules, and stress might have something to do with it.
Past studies have shown that flight attendants do have a higher risk of deadly skin cancer and breast cancer than other people. The latest study confirmed those findings but found that this group of professionals have also a higher risk of uterine, cervical, thyroid, non-melanoma skin cancers.
Researcher Irina Mordukhovich noted that the risk of breast cancer was higher in the flight attendants with three or more children. Usually, the more children you have the less likely it is for you to develop breast cancer. This was not the case with flight attendants.
Women with three or more children are already probably not getting enough sleep,
Flight Attendants on International Routes Face More Risks
What’s more, international flight attendants face major disruptions in their circadian rhythms, which can boost cancer risk too, as past studies have shown.
The latest research was based on data from the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study. The survey enables flight attendants to better understand the health hazards of their job. Around 80% of respondents were women.
The latest study couldn’t tell why exactly women in this occupation tend to develop cancer. Study authors have some ideas, though.
For instance, flight attendants are exposed to toxic chemicals that can lead to cancer, like jet fuel, fire retardants, and pesticides. They are also exposed to ionizing radiation in the atmosphere’s upper layers. According to the WHO, cosmic ionizing radiation can up cancer risk.
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