Friday November 16, 2018

Night shifts may increase cancer risk

A positive association between night shifts and risk of cancer

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Night shifts increase cancer risk. Pexels
Night shifts increase cancer risk. Pexels
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  • Long-term night shift work among women increased the risk of cancer by 19%.
  • A meta-analysis using using international data from 61 articles comprising 114,628 cancer cases and 3,909,152 participants.
  • These studies found an association between long-term night shift work and risk of 11 types of cancer.

Women who work overnight have a comparatively high risk of developing cancer than women who do not, say researchers. An analysis of international data has confirmed an association between night-shifts and cancer.

“Our study indicates that night shift work serves as a risk factor for common cancers in women,” said Xuelei Ma, co-author of the study from West China Medical Center of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.

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Findings

These studies found an association between long-term night shift work and risk of 11 types of cancer. Wikimedia commons
These studies found an association between long-term night shift work and risk of 11 types of cancer. Wikimedia commons
  • Long-term night shift work among women increased the risk of cancer by 19 percent.
  • Nurses (working in night shifts) had the highest risk of breast cancer, of all the occupations analysed.
  • The population of women working on night shifts have an increase risk of skin (41%), breast (32%) and gastrointestinal cancer (18%).
  • Among female nurses alone, those who worked the night shift had an increased risk of breast (58%), gastrointestinal (35%) and lung cancer (28%).

Methodology

  • A meta-analysis using data from 61 articles comprising 114,628 cancer cases and 3,909,152 participants from North Amercia, Europe, Australia and Asia.
  • The articles consisted of 26 cohort studies, 24 case-control studies and 11 nested case-control studies.
  • These studies found an association between long-term night shift work and risk of 11 types of cancer.

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“Nurses that worked the night shift were of a medical background and may have been more likely to undergo screening examinations,” the researcher suggested.

The results might help establish and implement effective measures to protect female night shifters. Pixabay
The results might help establish and implement effective measures to protect female night shifters. Pixabay

“Long-term night shift workers should have regular physical examinations and cancer screenings,” Ma noted.

The study was published in journal Cancer Epidemiology. (IANS)

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Next Story

Women Rising Early Have Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

"In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that," she noted

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Breast Cancer
Early rising women at lower risk of breast cancer: Study. Pixabay

Women who begin their day early are likely to have a lower of risk breast cancer, than late beginners, suggests a research.

The study found that a preference for mornings reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent compared with being an evening type.

It also found that women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours had a 20 per cent increased risk of the disease per additional hour slept.

“The findings of a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk in this study are consistent with previous research highlighting a role for night shift work and exposure to ‘light-at-night’ as risk factors for breast cancer,” said Rebecca Richmond, a research student in the Cancer Research UK.

“We know already that night shift work is associated with worse mental and physical health. This study provides further evidence to suggest disrupted sleep patterns may have a role in cancer development,” she added.

The results were presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow.

For the study, the team looked at data from 180,215 women, and 228,951 women part of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Using genetic variants associated with people’s preference for morning or evening, sleep duration and insomnia, they investigated whether these sleep traits have a causal contribution to the risk of developing breast cancer.

They also found some evidence for a causal effect of increased sleep duration and sleep fragmentation on breast cancer.

The researchers believe their findings have implications for policy-makers and employers.

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“These findings have potential policy implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce risk of breast cancer among women,” Richmond said.

Richmond said: “We would like to do further work to investigate the mechanisms underpinning these results, as the estimates obtained are based on questions related to morning or evening preference rather than actually whether people get up earlier or later in the day.

“In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that,” she noted. (IANS)