In the modern world, we are surrounded by carcinogens, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. But jobs that have the highest risk of cancer put people in compromising positions for hours a day. Worse yet, some of the highly cancerous jobs are so unsuspecting that even the people who work them do not anticipate these effects.
Cruising above the ground in a quiet, calm tube, being a commercial airplane pilot may seem like a relaxing yet exciting job. But while flying, pilots get exposed to higher-than-average levels of UV radiation, which is known to increase the risk of skin cancer.
A popular summer job for high school and college students, most lifeguards are at a stage in life when they feel like they are going to be healthy forever. But being outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. puts people at a risk of developing skin cancer, especially if they do not liberally apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15.
Most people who work at a desk would never count their work among the jobs that have the highest risk of cancer. But studies continue to uncover a startling truth: sitting for many hours a day is correlated with higher rates of cancer and death. This is not to say that sitting directly causes cancer, as many people who are already sick do not stand very much. We need more research to determine if there is a causal relationship, but it is still disconcerting to see the toll sitting can take on one’s health.
Rubber Manufacturing Worker
Perhaps because of consistent mishandling of hazardous materials, occupational exposure to the rubber manufacturing industry shows an increased risk of multiple cancers. Rubber workers are more likely to get bladder cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, and leukemia.
Though this is another job that people mostly associate with quiet, safe work, morticians actually put themselves at risk every day. Preservatives, especially formaldehyde, are a part of a mortician’s daily toolkit. Breathing in those chemical fumes can increase a person’s risk for cancer.