How the Intensity of Night Shift Work Affects Breast Cancer Risk

Szkiela, M.; Kusideł, E.; Makowiec-Dąbrowska, T.; Kaleta, D. How the Intensity of Night Shift Work Affects Breast Cancer Risk. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4570.


Background—In 2019, the IARC concluded that “night shift work is probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence from human epidemiological studies and sufficient evidence of cancer and strong mechanistic evidence in experimental Animals.” The negative health consequences of night shift work may depend on how the night shifts are scheduled. The aim of this study was to investigate how the characteristics of night work affect the risk of developing breast cancer. Methods—A case–control study was conducted in 2015–2019 in the Lodz region. The case group included 494 women with breast cancer, while the control group included 515 healthy women. Results—Night work was found to be the third most important factor regarding breast cancer after a high BMI and a short or no breastfeeding period and before factors such as early menstruation, late menopause, no pregnancy, and smoking. The harmful effects of night work were influenced by its intensity, frequency, rotation, and the number of night shift years worked. Night work increases the breast cancer risk by 2.34 times, and high-intensity night work increases the breast cancer risk by 2.66 times. Conclusions—Appropriate ergonomic recommendations for night shift work for employers should be considered.

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