Increased risk of melanoma in airline pilots
Commercial airline pilots have a substantially increased risk of developing malignant melanoma, according to new research from Iceland. Dr Rafnsson and his team from the University of Reykjavik found that the rate of malignant melanoma was 10 times higher in a group of 458 commercial airline pilots than in Iceland's general population. Their findings were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine last month (J Occup Med 2000:57: 175–9).
The researchers studied the rates of malignant melanoma in pilots who worked for Icelandic airlines and compared them with data from the national cancer registry of people of the same age. There were five cases of malignant melanoma in the pilots while only 0.5 cases would be expected based on population data. Rates for pilots flying international routes were 15 times higher than expected, and 25 times higher for pilots flying routinely from Iceland to the United States.