Some women who work nights at higher risk of cancer: Study

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MIAMI Women who regularly work the night shift in Europe and North America may face a 19 per cent higher risk of cancer than those who work during the day, showed a study on Monday.

These risks were not apparent among female night-shift workers in Australia and Asia, said the meta-analysis in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Said study author Ma Xuelei, an oncologist at the West China Medical Centre of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China: We were surprised to see the association between night-shift work and breast cancer risk only among women in North America and Europe. It is possible that women in these locations have higher sex hormone levels, which have been positively associated with hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer."

Overall, long-term night-shift work raised the risk of cancer by 19 per cent, and the risk of certain cancers were even higher. Female night-shift workers saw a 41 per cent increased risk of skin cancer and a 32 per cent higher risk of breast cancer. Said Dr Ma: "The results suggest the need for health protection programmes for long-term female night-shift workers." - AFP