Night Work Doesn’t Raise Cancer Risk
In 2007, the World Health Organization published a report concluding that night shift work likely raises cancer—particularly breast cancer—risk. However, recent research involving more than 1.4 million women and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that working the night shift has little or no impact on breast cancer risk.
The CDC reports that approximately 15 million adults in the U.S. work full-time at night or rotating/irregular work schedules. Shift work disrupts that body’s circadian rhythm and can increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, depression, and other health problems. In 2007, the WHO stated that night shift work is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” but that conclusion was largely based on animal studies.
Recently, researchers in the UK analyzed and compared information from several large studies involving a total of 1.4 million women. They found that shift work—even long-term night work—does not increase breast cancer risk. According to researchers, women who work night shifts have the same risk for breast cancer as those who work more traditional hours.
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