Does Working Nights Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

 

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A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that working nights has little or no effect on a woman’s breast cancer risk despite a review in 2007 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifying night work as disrupting the body clock and a probably cause of cancer. In 2007 there was limited research on breast cancer risks in humans so the classification was based primarily on lab and animal studies.

The recent study followed 1.4 million women working night shift in 10 studies to determine if they developed breast cancer. Those who worked night shift for 20 to 30 years had no increased risk of breast cancer when compared with w2omen who had never worked night shift. Researchers found the incidence of breast cancer essentially the same for women who did not work night shift or worked night shift for several decades. The combined relative risk from all 10 studies together was 0.99   for any night work, 1.01 for 20 or more years night shift work, and 1.00 for 30 or more years night shift work. Researchers said “Breast cancer is the most common cause in women so it is vital for us to fund work in this area to establish if there is a link to night work.”  The also said ” This study has shwn that night dhift work, including long-term shift work, has little or no effect on breast cancer incidence in women. However, there are a number of other known risks with shift work that employers must take into consideration when protecting their workers’ health and safety.,” These include  “maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, and being active.”

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