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Pentagon shock study: High rates of cancer in airline pilots and ground crew

Pentagon shock study: High rates of cancer in airline pilots and ground crew

The findings of the Pentagon study on cancer incidence rates in specific corps and specialties are shocking. The study found high rates of cancer in fighter pilots, but also in ground crews, who are responsible for maintaining the aircraft.

As the Associated Press reports in its report, retired pilots had pointed out the increased incidence of cancers and had requested data from the competent agency. They were told that past military studies had shown they were at no greater risk than the general US population.

In the study, which involved nearly 900,000 service members who flew or worked on military aircraft between 1992 and 2017, the Pentagon found that aircrew members had an 87 percent higher rate of melanoma and a 39 percent higher rate of thyroid cancer, while men had 16% higher rate of prostate cancer and women 16% higher rate of breast cancer. Overall, flight crews had a 24% higher rate of all types of cancer.

The study showed that ground crews had a 19% higher rate of brain and nervous system cancer, a 15% higher rate of thyroid cancer and a 9% higher rate of kidney or kidney cancer, while women had a 7% higher rate of breast cancer . The overall rate for cancers of all types was 3% higher.

Some good news was also announced. Both ground and aircrew had much lower rates of lung cancer, and aircrew also had lower rates of bladder and colon cancer.

The data compared service members to the general US population after adjustment for age, sex, and race.

The Pentagon said the new study was one of the largest and most comprehensive to date. An earlier study looked only at Air Force pilots and found somewhat higher rates of cancer, while this one looked at all services and air and ground crews. Even with the broader approach, the Pentagon warned that the true number of cancer cases is likely to be even higher because of gaps in the data, which it said it would work to fix.

The study was required by Congress in the 2021 defense bill. Now, because higher rates have been found, the Pentagon must conduct an even larger study to determine what causes the cancers.

Aircrews have long asked the Pentagon to take a hard look at some of the environmental agents they are exposed to, such as jet fuel and solvents used to clean and maintain aircraft components, sensors and power sources the nose cones of the aircraft and the massive radar systems on the decks of the ships they land on.

Source: News Beast