The journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine published a study that may confirm a relationship between night shift work and an increase in breast cancer risk as much as 40% higher then a day shift worker. The study agrees with IARC’s placement of night shift work on their carcinogens list as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
According to the article, there may be a connection between melatonin production, which is regulated by daylight and nighttime, and estrogen production.
From the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:
Exposure to light at night may increase the risk of breast cancer by suppressing the normal nocturnal production of melatonin by the pineal An organ in the human or animal body which releases particular chemical substances for use in the body or for discharge into the surroundings., which, in turn, could increase the release of A female sex hormone that is primarily produced by the ovaries. Its primary function is to regulate the menstrual cycle and assist in the production of secondary sex characteristics such as breasts. It may even play a role in the production of cancer cells in the breast tissue. by the The female reproductive organs in which ova or eggs and hormones are produced.. This study investigated whether such exposure is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
The studies have found that if you work two night shifts or less per week your risk is not increased. The level of risk was influenced by whether the test subject considered themselves to be a “morning person” or a “night person.” Depending on these factors it is apparent that those working the night shift opposite to their natural rhythms were more disturbed by changes to the body’s internal clock.
Additional breast cancer risk factors faced by night workers may also contribute to a higher Incidence refers to the occurrence of new cases of disease or injury in a population over a specified period of time. of breast cancer.
WebMD published an online article about the possible link:
The night workers in the new study tended to sunbathe more frequently than their counterparts who worked by day. This observation does not support the theory that the increased breast cancer risk among night shifters was due to less sun exposure.
Several studies suggest that night-workers have a higher Incidence refers to the occurrence of new cases of disease or injury in a population over a specified period of time. of breast cancer—as well as an association with more Anything that increases or decreases a person’s chance of developing a disease. for breast cancer (e.g. obesity, smoking, alcohol use),” says Marisa Weiss, MD, via email.
Do you work the night shift? What are your thoughts on this new study? How has your working schedule effected your health?