Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software Do Shift-workers Have an Increased Risk for Cancer?Sleep Source

Do Shift-workers Have an Increased Risk for Cancer?

Posted On March 22, 2014
shift-workers
March 22, 2014

As a nurse on the Labor and Delivery Unit, you have worked your whole career on the night shift. For the most part, you sleep soundly but on occasion your husband cannot sleep when you toss and turn in your battle with insomnia. And then to boot he has also reached over to wake you when you snore. Your health has been sound, nothing out of the ordinary except when you went in for your annual mammogram. You just learned that you have breast cancer. Could working the night shift, disturbances in sleep and developing cancer be related? Do shift-workers have an increased risk for cancer?

The answer is yes. With study results published in the British Medical Journal, researchers in Canada discovered that there was a connection between shift-work and cancer incidence, specifically breast cancer. The results demonstrated that the longer the test subject was a shift-worker, the higher the incidence of cancer. Specifically, those individuals who worked the night-shift for more than 30 years doubled their development of breast cancer. Under 30 years, the incidence was not statistically significant.

The Canadian investigators believed that artificial lighting negatively impacted melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body and helps to initiate sleep as well as thought to protect a person against cancer. So during the day, the gland that secrets melatonin is on pause but at night, it kicks into high gear. With artificial lighting being what it may be at night, shift-workers’ bodies think it is daytime and they produce a lower quantity of melatonin. And thus sleep is adversely affected. With that being said, not reaping the benefits of restorative sleep, the health of shift-workers place them at higher risk for diseases such as cancer.

But why breast cancer specifically? The researchers of this study theorized that with lower levels of melatonin being produced an increase in estrogen occurs, which may cause breast cancer to develop in these female shift-workers involved in various occupations. This study confirmed previous research that discovered a link between night nurses and breast cancer.

Shift-Workers and Cancer: In the Genes?

With close to an estimated 15 percent of the worldwide population working the night shift, there are quite a number of people who could theoretically be at risk for cancer. Early this year a group at the Sleep Research Centre at University of Surrey disclosed results from a study that will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Researchers found that with shift-work close to 1,500 genes could be damaged. With shift-work, the group said that a person’s natural 24-hour body cycle is disrupted, which prompts the issue with their genes. They believe that certain genes work in sync with circadian rhythm.

For any person who works the night shift, it is important that they take care of their health to help prevent diseases such as cancer. It always a good idea to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and adopt sound sleep hygiene practice.

If you have sleep apnea and would like to learn more about available treatment options, we can help. Please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.

  • Make Sleep a Priority in 2016

    Dec 30, 2015
    You say you want to bring in the New Year with a positive life change that will benefit you and your health. One of the most beneficial resolutions to your overall health is changing your sleep habits. For years you have heard that sleep is important, but have you really executed a plan to make […]

    Living With Panic Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Dec 17, 2015
    The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Keeping the top down on your convertible is a foregone conclusion. But wait, your palms become clammy, your heart starts to race, you can’t quite catch your breath and you have a sense of unexplainable danger. What is wrong? You might have just experienced a panic […]

    Somniphobia: Can People be Too Scared to Sleep?

    Nov 04, 2015
    You are addicted. You admit it. You can’t seem to get enough of the hit TV shows American Horror Story or The Walking Dead. After binge watching for 6 hours, you have finally unlocked somniphobia. But somniphobia isn’t just about getting to the end of a new series. Somniphobia is something real to people who […]

    Incidence of Gout Double for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

    Oct 29, 2015
    A recent study out of the UK has shown risk of developing gout was up to 60% higher among patients with sleep apnea versus individuals without sleep apnea. Gout is a complex form of arthritis that causes the body to make an excess of uric acid causing pain at the base of the joints. Sleep […]
  • About Us

    Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America was founded for the sole purpose of providing superior sleep solutions for our patients to improve their overall quality of life.

    We seek to gain a thorough understanding of each patient’s sleep disorder and individual medical needs in order to provide the best care and treatment solutions available to effectively treat their sleep condition.
  • What We Do

    We offer a unique and comprehensive form of sleep apnea treatment that effectively seeks to cure sleep apnea over the course of an average of 6 treatments.

    Having the ability to significantly impact our patients’ lives for the better through improved sleep and minimizing health risks is something that we take great pride in. Please take a look at what our patients are saying and view some of our Sleep Apnea success stories.
  • Contact Us

    Name

    Email (required)

    Phone

Copyright © 2013 Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America | Website | Powered by AHP