Flight Attendants at a Higher Risk of Cancer

(Reposted from luchtzak - Airliners.net)

Photo Credits: New York Post

So the Job of being a flight attendant… What’s at risk?

Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome compared to the general population, a large and comprehensive study of cabin crew members by the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston) and published in the journal Environmental Health has found.


Would this stop you from becoming a flight attendant?


I think it is because they are more exposed to te UV rays as they are in the aircraft all day long, at 30,000-40,000ft everyday where at that altitude there is stronger UV rays because of the atmosphere and all that.


Maybe the constant physical and mental stress that they go through? Following this study… I would like to see the outcome if they were to do this same test on the pilots.

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Like @Daniel14 stated it’s likely something they’re exposed to in the cabin. It could be altitude but that would mean pilots are at high risk as well then! So I guess we would have to wait for more studies and info! This wouldn’t stop me from becoming a flight attendant but it would concern me.


I don’t care about this stuff anymore. According to these scientists you can get cancer from everything and then a few years later they get discredited. They are full of a whole lot of 💩 most of the time.


Would this not affect pilots equally if not more since they are staring out the window in the sun a lot…

Also this would not stop me from being a FA, especially since I rarely would place that much trust in one study that has no proof beyond one test group…

Does this threat include pilots? I would think that they would also have a higher risk along with flight attendants since they do work in a pretty similar work environment.


Here a website that tackles down what Melanoma Skin Cancer is…

But in the OP’s post they are saying it’s Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, so they’re contriditing the fact that it is UV rays causing the cancer here.

So could Mental Stress be root of the cause, No i don’t think so. Mental Health has not been proven to have anything to do with Cancer although it can cause Sleep disorders, Eating disorders and Depression which could lead to Heart related issues and/or Stroke due to the high level of stress and disorders one has put on them.

Honestly i wouldn’t believe in this as to nowadays you hear so much about, this is cancer, that is cancer when matter in fact most of these things, although may cause cancer in the longer term…, won’t give you cancer right away unless you overdo it… And if everything in this world gives you cancer then i don’t see humanity going much further without constant illness everywhere.

It’s good to be cautious but don’t overthink that “oh if i sit under the sun i’ll get skin cancer” just because some scientist said so. There are certain periods of time when sun is at its peak/prime time and you should try to avoid that staking hot sun during that time but getting a little exposed won’t cause much harm at all.

And lastly people are different, we live and act differently. Our bodies are vastly different from one another and reacts in different ways when exposed to different things. So in the end of the day, one may have a higher chance or getting a certain illness and another may not but heyy that doesn’t mean just because you got a higher chance, you’ll get it or get it before someone else.

Not everyone passes away from a illness. Still the vast majority of people die in normal natural circumstances such as age. And not to count in the large number of people who pass away in traffic accidents every year…


Background radiation at the cruising altitude of most airliners can be 30 times higher than on the ground, simply because the atmosphere provides less protection from cosmic radiation at that altitude.

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But then you look at another cancer site and it says:

“Almost all skin cancers (approximately 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanoma) are caused by too much UV radiation from the sun or other sources such as solaria (solariums, sunbeds, and sun lamps). Skin cancer develops in the cells in the epidermis – the top or outer layer of the skin.”

My wife can talk to you for days about this subject as she has both melanoma and non-melanoma in multiple locations. She doesn’t smoke, drink, or is really stressed.

Radiation in the sky has always been something considered but not sure if really studied. I think being 30k feet closer to the big ball of UV rays doesn’t help. Perhaps thats why when I visited my client in Denver they told me to be careful that you burn a little quicker due to the altitude.

Radiation is bad news. Sure we can figure out how to get to Mars but dealing with radiation is the kicker lol.


@Chris_S, So since the higher up you go, the thinner the air gets and the less compact the molecules becomes, letting more UV rays in which in that case could cause Melanoma Skin Cancer… as you’re exposed to stronger radiation.

Too much of anything is bad news, and we all know that.

And stress is internal, many are stressed out (not saying your Wife is that in particular) and may not even know about it. Although having little bit of stress in life can be good otherwise we’d lazy sitting on our couch all day but there’s a limit to everything in life as to how much you can handle.

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Do they recommend you wear sunscreen while flying?

Controversial in my opinion as i’ve heard Sunscreen is good since i was kid up until a few years back the doctors and scientist say the chemicals used in sunscreen itself can cause cancer…

What to should you believe in?

Then again sunscreen might not be a issue if applied the correct amount, once again too much of anything brings risk with it.

Cancer is caused by a mutation of a cell(s), this can be because of harmful chemicals, microwaves, or UV rays (the sun). UV rays would be the most logical explanation for their findings, yet after digging around, I discovered that almost all planes fly below the ozone layer. This part of our atmosphere, if you didn’t know, protects the Earth from most UV rays from space. This layer is at around 50000-40000 ft and clearly above any normal commercial aircraft cruise altitude. So basically, according to what I’ve found, you’re as likely to get cancer in a plane as you are on the ground.

I am not going to let one or a few studies stop my dream of becoming an airline pilot.

Whether you have a higher risk of cancer while working in the air or not shouldn’t affect your passion for flying or working as a Flight Attendant.

Like @Captain_JR said, too much of anything is bad.

If the study was actually true and people are afraid of getting hazardous cancer earlier because they were frequently flying, we wouldn’t have the fast transportation we have today with airplanes. I would not be able to go up to Seattle to get my braces done.

There are bad things about every job. You work as a pilot, you have to be able to handle emergencies. You work as a flight attendant, you have to cope with violent passengers.

You work as a construction worker, you are at risk of falling from high areas.

You work as a YouTuber, you have to be able to make videos to keep your subscribers interested.

I could go on and on.


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