The Risk of Melanoma in Airline Pilots and Cabin Crew

Below is an article with information that affects us all. I would like to recommend that sunblock be worn on exposed portions of your body and please do yearly exams with a dermatologist. If there is a history of melanoma in your family and have never been examined, please do so as soon as possible. As someone who has had a family member diagnosed with this type of cancer-I do speak from experience on how important skin protection and exams are. This is an abstract paper with conclusion at the bottom.

Importance  Airline pilots and cabin crew are occupationally exposed to higher levels of cosmic and UV radiation than the general population, but their risk of developing melanoma is not yet established.

Objective  To assess the risk of melanoma in pilots and airline crew.

Data Sources  PubMed (1966 to October 30, 2013), Web of Science (1898 to January 27, 2014), and Scopus (1823 to January 27, 2014).

Study Selection  All studies were included that reported a standardized incidence ratio (SIR), standardized mortality ratio (SMR), or data on expected and observed cases of melanoma or death caused by melanoma that could be used to calculate an SIR or SMR in any flight-based occupation.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Primary random-effect meta-analyses were used to summarize SIR and SMR for melanoma in any flight-based occupation. Heterogeneity was assessed using the χ2 test and I2 statistic. To assess the potential bias of small studies, we used funnel plots, the Begg rank correlation test, and the Egger weighted linear regression test.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Summary SIR and SMR of melanoma in pilots and cabin crew.

Results  Of the 3527 citations retrieved, 19 studies were included, with more than 266 431 participants. The overall summary SIR of participants in any flight-based occupation was 2.21 (95% CI, 1.76-2.77; P < .001; 14 records). The summary SIR for pilots was 2.22 (95% CI, 1.67-2.93; P = .001; 12 records). The summary SIR for cabin crew was 2.09 (95% CI, 1.67-2.62; P = .45; 2 records). The overall summary SMR of participants in any flight-based occupation was 1.42 (95% CI, 0.89-2.26; P = .002; 6 records). The summary SMR for pilots was 1.83 (95% CI, 1.27-2.63, P = .33; 4 records). The summary SMR for cabin crew was 0.90 (95% CI, 0.80-1.01; P = .97; 2 records).

Conclusions and Relevance  Pilots and cabin crew have approximately twice the incidence of melanoma compared with the general population. Further research on mechanisms and optimal occupational protection is needed.


Stephanie Starks

IAM Flight Safety Coordinator

Search for older posts

Updated: March 4, 2015 — 8:41 pm
IAM © 2013