Night shifts may increase risk of cancer in women


Beijing: A recent study has revealed that women working for night shift could be at a risk of cancer.

Night shift work can be hazardous to your health and it can lead to various issues like heart disease, obesity and sleep disorders. Now researchers of China have found that continuous shifts at irregular hours increase the risk of cancer by 19 percent in women.

The researchers have also revealed that nurses have the highest risk of developing breast cancer if they have been assigned night shifts for long.

“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.

This research is published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. For the study, researchers performed a meta-analysis using data from 61 articles comprising 114,628 cancer cases and 3,909,152 participants from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

The articles consisted of 26 cohort studies, 24 case-control studies and 11 nested case-control studies. These studies were analysed for an association between long-term night shift work and risk of 11 types of cancer.

After analysing specific cancers, the researchers found that 41 percent of the population had an increased risk of skin cancer, 32 percent had a risk of breast cancer and 18 percent greater risk of gastrointestinal cancer compared with women who did not do long-term night shift work.

A further analysis was conducted which looked specifically at long-term night shift work and risk of six types of cancer among female nurses. Female nurses had an increased risk of breast (58 per cent), gastrointestinal (35 percent) and lung cancer (28 percent) compared with those that did not work night shifts.

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

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


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