Thyroid cancer risk in airline cockpit and cabin crew: a meta-analysis. Cancers of the head & neck Liu, G. S., Cook, A., Richardson, M., Vail, D., Holsinger, F. C., Oakley-Girvan, I. 2018; 3: 7

Abstract

Airline crew are exposed to ionizing radiation as part of their occupation and have a documented increased risk of melanoma and cataracts. However, whether their occupation predisposes them to an increased risk of thyroid cancer is not established. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the risk of thyroid cancer in airline cockpit and cabin crew compared with the general population.The MEDLINE database accessed via PubMed and Cochrane Database were searched. We included cohort studies reporting the standardized incidence ratio (SIR) or standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of thyroid cancers in any flight-based occupation.Of the 1777 citations retrieved in PubMed, eight studies with a total of 243,088 aircrew members and over 3,334,114 person-years of follow-up were included in this meta-analysis. No relevant studies were identified on Cochrane Database. The overall summary SIR of participants in any flight-based occupation was 1.11 (95% CI, 0.79-1.57; p?=?0.613; 6 records). The summary SIR for cockpit crew was 1.21 (95% CI, 0.75-1.95; p?=?0.383; 4 records) and the summary SIR for cabin crew was 1.00 (95% CI, 0.60-1.66; p?=?0.646; 2 records). The overall summary standardized mortality ratio for airline crew was 1.19 (95% CI, 0.59-2.39; p?=?0.773; 2 records).Airline crew were not found to have a significantly elevated risk of thyroid cancer incidence or mortality relative to the general population. Future research should capitalize on the growing occupational cohort dataset and employ innovative methods to quantify lifetime radiation exposure to further assess thyroid cancer risk in airline crew.

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