Higher Cancer Risk On Planes

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January 02, 2008 | 14,164 views

Airline pilots and cabin crew may have an increased risk of leukemia and other cancers because of their exposure to cosmic radiation.. Scientists from Copenhagen?s Institute of Cancer Epidemiology said they found a higher rate of myeloid leukemia and other cancers among some 3,700 pilots and crew members who had flown more than 5,000 hours.

According to the report, acute myeloid leukemia was 5.1 times more common than expected in jet pilots who had flown more than 5,000 total hours during their careers Myeloid leukemia is a fatal form of cancer which usually strikes men in their 30s and 40s. The average survival time is three or four years after the initial diagnosis. This finding could be related to cosmic radiation, inasmuch as the risk is seen in the most exposed group ? those flying high and for many hours.  

The scientists also discovered a higher risk of skin cancer among flight crews. This finding could be related to cosmic radiation.  Since jets fly higher than other planes, jet pilots are exposed to higher levels of radiation in the sky, they note.

The Lancet December 111999;354:2029-2031.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Flying frequently can be hazardous to your health. This is especially true for those who do it for a living of course. However, many of us fly frequently and are also exposed to this risk, although at a much lower level. If you fly frequently it would be wise to consider some type of neutralization.