Studies have shown that people working in certain professions, such as flight attendants, are more likely to develop health problems than those working in other occupations.
These health problems include different types of cancer including breast and skin cancer.
Researchers have attributed the high risk to a number of factors such as exposure to different kinds of chemicals and radiation in the workplace, exposure to too much sunlight, or disruption in circadian rhythms.
Below is a list of jobs that may increase people's risk of developing cancer.
Workplace And Cancer Risk
According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of workplace-related cancers has dropped significantly over the past few decades due to the increase of safety regulations.
Only around 4 percent of cancers in the United States are attributable to occupational exposure to cancer-causing substances, known as carcinogens. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, 5 percent of cancer deaths were related to occupational exposure.
Furthermore, three to six percent of all cancers worldwide have been caused by exposures to these substances.
Since farmers spend most of their time working outside on a daily basis, they are more likely to expose themselves to too much sunlight. Too much ultraviolet or UV radiation from the sun is known to be the main cause of the deadliest kind of skin cancer called melanoma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Every 57 minutes, someone dies as a result of getting melanoma. Among the warning signs of the disease are moles that have irregular borders, multiple colors, a diameter larger than a pencil eraser, sensitivity, and the tendency to bleed.
The best ways to lower the risk of the disease are to stay in the shade, especially during late morning through mid-afternoon, and wear protective clothing such as a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, and full-length pants.
In addition to UV light, most farmers also expose themselves to harmful agricultural chemicals including fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, solvents, and fuels.
Like farmers, construction workers sometimes work outdoors under the sunlight. However, they are more likely to expose themselves to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral substance that was once a common ingredient in American construction materials.
Despite that, asbestos still remains a threat to people's health in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 1.3 million construction workers are currently exposed to the substance on the job.
The substance causes asbestosis, which is a condition that is caused by inhaling microscopic fibers of asbestos.
Manufacturing and Mining
Factory workers and miners are exposed to a number of harmful chemicals including fossil fuels like coal products, benzene, diesel engine exhaust, and mineral oils.
According to a 2012 study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health, researchers have discovered evidence that strengthened the link between the risk of breast cancer and occupations in the agricultural and manufacturing industries.
In the study, researchers found that people with potentially high exposures to carcinogens and endocrine disrupters had an elevated risk of breast cancer. Sectors with increased risk included automotive plastics manufacturing, food canning, and metal-working.
In a more recent study, researchers found that flight attendants are more likely to have higher incidents of all cancers compared to the general population, despite having good-health behaviors such as low levels of smoking and obesity.
They also observed that women cabin crew members have an increased risk of developing breast, melanoma, and non-melanoma cancers. Surprisingly, the high risk was attributed to different factors including the number of children female flight attendants had.
Previous studies also show that disruptions in the circadian rhythm may also play a role in the increased risk for cancer. Flight attendants also regularly expose themselves to UV and ionizing radiation.