Sunday November 17, 2019

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
  • 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.

Read more: Chemotherapy doesn’t cure cancer, switch to herbs

“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)

Next Story

Here’s Why Complimentary Cancer Therapies Can Cause More Harm

Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer

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Cancer
It is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for Cancer that has spread to the skin. Pixabay

A medical expert has said that Cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment.

Maria Joao Cardoso, the head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it is best not to take anything, she added.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Cardoso told the BBC.

She said that it is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that has spread to the skin. This happens in one in five cases of breast cancer, and less in other cancers.

The danger is that many products can interfere with the hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process, which can lead to wounds taking longer time to heal and more scarring.

She said that herbal products like green chiretta, feverfew, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric slow down clotting.

Cancer
A medical expert has said that Cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment. Pixabay

Cardoso said that it is not surprising that patients and their carers go searching for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference.

But she said people should know that “they could end up doing more harm than good”.

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“The highest goal in medicine is important to remember: Do no harm,” she said.

As per the website of Cancer Research UK, some complementary therapies might stop conventional treatments working as well as they should. (IANS)