Breast caner risk may be increased by night shift work. A story circulated in the media this week suggested that women who work the night shift are more likely to develop breast cancer. According to one of the articles a new study suggests that Danish women who were employed on the night shift were 40% more likely to develop breast cancer compared with women who always worked during day shift hours. This risk was elevated among women who worked more recurrent night shifts for longer periods of time. In particular, women who were employed on the night shift at least three times a week for six years or more were in excess of twice as likely to develop breast cancer than women who had not been employed on the night shift as often.
Breast Cancer Risk Could Be Occupational
Estimates are that as many as 20% of people in Europe and the U.S. are employed on the night shift. The details of how night shift work could elevate breast cancer risk are not definitive. In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer came to the conclusion that night shift work negatively interrupting the body clock or circadian rhythms may increase the risk of breast cancer. The night work hinders the production of the hormone melatonin. Working as few as two night shifts per week did not affect breast cancer risk. This may not be enough time to negatively impact the body clock, study authors conclude. Interestingly enough, breast cancer risk were elevated among self-described “morning” people, or “larks,” who were working the night shift. Larks may be more likely to experience body-clock disruption than owls. The night workers that participated in the new study were more likely to indulge in sunbathing more often than their counterparts who worked during the day. This observation is in contradiction to the theory that the increased breast cancer risk among night shifters was because of less sun exposure.
Breast Cancer Risk ca be Minimized by Lifestyle Choices
What can women do with this breast cancer information since most women are not financially equipped to quit their job based on the information from the study? Repeatedly science and medicine has shown us that lifestyle choices are one of the best ways to prevent breast cancer. This includes a healthy diet as well as a consistent effective exercise program. Dr. Seify explains to his new breast surgery patients that the best breast surgery results are maintained through healthy lifestyle choices that include diet and exercise. While this helps maintain good breast health for the eary detection of breast cancer and also helps to maintain the aesthetic results of breast surgery. Breast cancer prevention is critical fro all women. Patients who have had breast augmentation with breast implants who were not good about diet and exercise and gain or lose a significant amount of weight are likely to see changes in the aesthetic appearance of their breast. If significant weight is gained the bust size could become larger as well as develop a sagging component to the breast tissue. In this case, in order to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing result a breast lift and a possible breast implant exchange may be needed. If significant weight is lost after breast augmentation with implants (especially saline implants) some patients may experience visible rippling on the sides of the implant or along the cleavage line. Patients should maintain healthy stable weight for the best long-term results.