Prostate Cancer in Pilots

Aviation exposes pilots to various occupationally related hazards, including ionizing radiation and chemical combustion. The possibility of increased prostate cancer incidence and mortality among pilots is a subject of debate. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to summarize the supporting evidence and determine the magnitude of association.

All studies reporting prostate cancer incidence and mortality in pilots compared to the general population were included regardless of language or size. The comprehensive search included multiple databases and manual search. A random effect model was used to pool relative risks (RR) across studies.

The final search yielded nine studies with good methodological quality. Four studies reported the incidence of prostate cancer while six reported on mortality. Pilots had a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer [RR 1.20; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08-1.33], but not in prostate cancer mortality (RR 1.20; 95% CI, 0.91-1.60).

Pilots appear to have a very small increase in prostate cancer incidence, but not in mortality. The clinical significance of this finding is uncertain. Raslau D, Abu Dabrh AM, Summerfield DT, Wang Z, Steinkraus LW, Murad MH. Prostate cancer in pilots. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(6):565-570.

Aerospace medicine and human performance. 0000 [Epub]

David Raslau, Abd Moain Abu Dabrh, Douglas T Summerfield, Zhen Wang, Lawrence W Steinkraus, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.