Female Night Shift Workers Have Increased Cancer Risk

An analysis of cancer risks has found a significant increase in the risk of skin, breast and gastrointestinal cancer in women who work night shifts over a long period of time. A study published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal found that the cancer risk of night shift workers increased by 19 percent overall.

Women who worked night shifts over a long period of time had a 32 percent increased risk of breast cancer and an 18 percent increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer.

However, the highest risk was in skin cancer. Female night shift workers had a 41 percent increased chance of developing malignant skin tumours.

The study was based on an analysis of data taken from 61 articles comprising 114,628 cancer cases and nearly four million participants from Australia, North America, Europe and Asia. The study analysed the association between prolonged night shift work and increased susceptibility to 11 types of cancer.

The risk of breast cancer increased by 3.3 percent for every five years of night shift work, but only women in North America and Europe had a heightened risk of breast cancer.

Across the entire study, nurses faced the highest risk of developing cancer, with a 58 percent increased risk of breast cancer, a 35 percent increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer, and a 28 percent increased risk of lung cancer.

Read more about high-risk groups.


9 January 2018. Night shift work poses increased cancer risk to women – study. Mirage News.

Learn more about skin cancer medicine in primary care at the next Skin Cancer Certificate Courses:

Skin Cancer Certificate Courses in Australia

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