Opin vísindi

Incidence of cancer among licenced commercial pilots flying North Atlantic routes

Incidence of cancer among licenced commercial pilots flying North Atlantic routes

Title: Incidence of cancer among licenced commercial pilots flying North Atlantic routes
Author: Guðmundsdóttir, Eva María
Hrafnkelsson, Jón
Rafnsson, Vilhjalmur   orcid.org/0000-0001-6361-8527
Date: 2017-08-16
Language: English
Scope: 86
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Heilbrigðisvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Health Sciences (UI)
Department: Læknadeild (HÍ)
Faculty of Medicine (UI)
Series: Environmental Health;16(1)
ISSN: 1476-069X
DOI: 10.1186/s12940-017-0295-4
Subject: Malignant melanoma; Prostate cancer; Cosmic radiation; Aircrew; Cancer registry; Húðkrabbamein; Blöðruhálskirtilskrabbamein; Geislun; Flugmenn
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/445

Show full item record


Gudmundsdottir, E. M., Hrafnkelsson, J., & Rafnsson, V. (2017). Incidence of cancer among licenced commercial pilots flying North Atlantic routes. Environmental Health, 16(1), 86. doi:10.1186/s12940-017-0295-4


Background: To evaluate cancer incidence among licenced commercial pilots in association with cosmic radiation. Methods: Cohort study where ionizing radiation dose of cosmic radiation was estimated from airline data and software program and cancer incidence was obtained by record linkage with nation-wide cancer registry. All licenced commercial male airline pilots were followed from 1955 to 2015, ever or never employed at airline with international routes. Standardized incidence ratios were calculated and relative risk by Poisson regression, to examine exposure-response relation. Results: Eighty three cancers were registered compared with 92 expected; standardized incidence ratios were 0.90 (95% CI 0.71 to 1.11) for all cancers, 3.31 (95% CI 1.33 to 6.81) for malignant melanoma, and 2.49 (95% CI 1.69 to 3.54), for basal cell carcinoma of skin. The risk for all cancers, malignant melanoma, prostate cancer, basal cell carcinoma of skin, and basal cell carcinoma of trunk increased with an increase in number of employment years, cumulative air hours, total cumulative radiation dose, and cumulative radiation dose sustained up to age of 40 years. The relative risk for the highest exposure categories of cumulative radiation dose were 2.42 (95% CI 1.50 to 3.92) for all cancers, 2.57 (95% CI 1.18 to 5.56) for prostate cancer, 9.88 (95% CI 1.57 to 190.78) for malignant melanoma, 3.61 (95% CI 1.64 to 8. 48) for all basal cell carcinoma, and 6.65 (95% CI 1.61 to 44.64) for basal cell carcinoma of trunk. Conclusions: This study was underpowered to study brain cancer and leukaemia risk. Basal cell carcinoma of skin is radiation-related cancer, and may be attributed to cosmic radiation. Further studies are needed to clarify the risk of cancers in association with cosmic radiation, other workplace exposure, host factors, and leisure sun-exposure, as clothes, and glass in cockpit windows shield pilots from the most potent ultraviolet-radiation.


This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)