Night Shift and Cancer

This paper discusses the causes and effects of working night shifts as related to breast cancer.

This paper explains that only a few studies examine the direct relationship of working night shifts and breast cancer; but, based on the several studies that used different methods, medical researches have hypothesized that working night shifts puts women at greater risk of breast cancer. The author points out that the most common cause cited is the decrease in the level of melatonin and the exposure to bright artificial lights at night. The paper relates that the lack of melatonin as a risk factor to breast cancer is linked to the
overproduction of estrogen, another breast cancer-causing hormone. According to studies, melatonin regulates a hormone system’s production of estrogen; therefore, a decrease in melatonin can cause a reproductive system to produce more estrogen, thus allowing a higher risk of breast cancer.

Table of Contents
Epidemiological Studies on Working Night Shift and Cancer
Links to Working Night Shift and Breast Cancer
Other Links to Working Night Shift and Breast Cancer
Policies to Address the Issue

Melatonin is a hormone that is essential for the body. It acts as a protection against the growth and development of tumors. According to studies, during sleep at night is the peak time when melatonin is produced, specifically between 1 am to 2 am. Because working night shift deprives an individual from a night sleep, production of the right amount of melatonin is also being deprived. Thus, allowing a higher risk of developing cancer tissues. Daniel DeNoon, in his Hormone Melatonin Slows Breast Cancer, indicates the following report of David E. Blask of Bassett Research Institute in Cooperstown, N.Y. about the relationship of melatonin to growth of breast cancer.