We are all aware that sun exposure is damaging to the skin. Applying sunscreen for the beach and other outdoor activities where sun rays are harsh on the skin is common practice, but a new study shows that pilots, cabin crew members, and potentially frequent flyers face a higher chance of developing skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and the most common form found in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates about 76,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma by the end of 2014.

Although the study is unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the increased risk of melanoma among cabin crew members and pilots, analysis shows a correlation between airline crew members and their high exposure to strong ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When UV radiation penetrates layers of the skin, DNA controlling skin growth is damaged, leading to skin aging and the development of skin cancer. The latest study suggests that with higher altitudes, UV radiation exposure increases through aircraft windows and becomes an occupational hazard for pilots and crew members that spend much of their time exposed to the sun’s rays.

Melanoma is treatable when detected at early stages. Regular skin checks are the best way to protect yourself from skin cancer. With the added risk, pilots, crew members, and frequent flyers should have additional skin checks for melanoma.

Call DC Derm Docs to book a skincare evaluation.