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Airline crews at greater risk of melanoma

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Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer

Pilots and airline crews may be at increased risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that starts in the melanocytes, the cells that produce skin pigment.

The analysis, online at JAMA Dermatology, used data from 19 studies that included more than 266,000 subjects. Airline crews have twice the incidence of melanoma as the general population and a death rate that is 42% higher.

The reasons are unclear, but ultraviolet A radiation exposure, which at 30,000 feet is twice what it is on the ground, is a well-established risk factor for the disease. Aircraft window glass blocks it only minimally.

International New York Times

[pictured: A melanoma; photo courtesy National Cancer Institute]

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