Cancer Prevalence Among Flight Attendants Compared To The General Population
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Flight attendants are an understudied occupational group, despite undergoing a wide range of adverse job-related exposures, including to known carcinogens. In our study, we aimed to characterize the prevalence of cancer diagnoses among U.S. cabin crew relative to the general population.
In 2014–2015, we surveyed participants of the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study. We compared the prevalence of their self-reported cancer diagnoses to a contemporaneous cohort in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2013–2014) using age-weighted standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs). We also analyzed associations between job tenure and the prevalence of selected cancers, using logistic regression and adjusting for potential confounders.
Compared to NHANES participants with a similar socioeconomic status (n = 2729), flight attendants (n = 5366) had a higher prevalence of every cancer we examined, especially breast cancer, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer among females. SPR for these conditions were 1.51 (95% CI: 1.02, 2.24), 2.27 (95% CI: 1.27, 4.06), and 4.09 (95% CI: 2.70, 6.20), respectively. Job tenure was positively related to non-melanoma skin cancer among females, with borderline associations for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers among males. Consistent with previous studies, we observed associations between job tenure and breast cancer among women who had three or more children.
We observed higher rates of specific cancers in flight attendants compared the general population, some of which were related to job tenure. Our results...