New research in the form of a medical literature review has found that the pilots and cabin crew of aircraft have approximately twice the incidence of developing melanomas compared with members of the general population. The authors of the study believe that this could be due to increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) and cosmic radiation related to high altitudes.

Although officials routinely monitor levels of exposure to ionizing radiation, UV exposure is not usually recognized as an occupational hazard for pilots and cabin crew. UV is, however, recognized as a major risk factor for the development of melanomas. UV is known to damage the DNA of skin cells, and when the DNA that controls the growth of skin cells is damaged, skin cancer can develop.

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