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Home Industry News Night shift work ‘is not associated with higher breast cancer risk’

Night shift work ‘is not associated with higher breast cancer risk’

7th October 2016

A new study has offered evidence that women who work night shifts will not see their risk of breast cancer increase as a result.

The Oxford University study followed a total of 800,000 women across three large UK studies and estimated the relative risks of breast cancer among women who reported night shift work versus those who did not.

It aimed to shed light on a previous World Health Organization study that categorised shift work involving disruption of the circadian rhythm as a probable carcinogen, based on data from animal trials.

Contrary to these earlier findings, no increase in breast cancer risk associated with night shift work, including long-term night shifts, was found in any of these studies.

Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of worldwide evidence combining results from the three UK studies with those from seven studies from the US, China, Sweden and the Netherlands offered similar findings. These ten studies included a total of 1.4 million women, among whom 4,660 breast cancers occurred in those who reported ever having done night shift work.

Dr Ruth Travis from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University said: "We found that women who had worked night shifts, including long-term night shifts, were not more likely to develop breast cancer, either in the three new UK studies or when we combined results from all ten studies that had published relevant data."

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