A recent meta-analysis found that working night shifts could increase the risk of cancer among women. Specialists established that their breast cancer risks rose by 32%. At the same time, the one for stomach cancer increased by 18% while the one for skin cancer rose by 41%.
The Hidden Dangers of Night Shifts?
“A growing number of studies have examined associations between night shift work and the risks of common cancers among women, with varying conclusions,” states the research team in their study paper.
For this study, the experts analyzed more than 60 articles which had included over 3,909,000 participants. Among them, there were 114,628 cases of different types of cancer. The study participants came from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America.
Researchers mentioned that it is important to understand the risks before deciding to work night shifts. They also looked to determine other possible consequences of doing so.
The study focused on female nurses that decided to work night shifts. Then, the participants were divided according to their location.
By doing so, they observed that the risks of breast cancer rose among medical shifts that took up night shifts in both Europe and North America. This might also mean that women living in these locations already had other risk factors which lead to cancer.
It was noted that female nurses who tend to work more night shifts had a 58% higher risk of breast cancer. They also presented a 28% higher risk of lung cancer, and 35% for gastrointestinal cancers. When working such shifts, people are under a lot of stress, and many tend to smoke or eat unhealthily. They also not well enough rested.
Also, the caffeine intake tends to be higher as some use it to stay awake. All of the body processes also change and adapt to this lifestyle.
“This research suggests the need for health protection programs for long-term female night shift workers,” mentioned an assistant professor, Xuelei Ma, involved in the study.
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