Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman, from Jon L Gelman LLC, a respected colleague in New Jersey. Various authors of this blog have covered some of the risks that workers are exposed to on a regular basis. Those risks can lead to occupational diseases, which include certain types of cancer.
This study is one that makes some conclusions about how long-term night shift work can be linked to some breast cancers. So in addition to shift work causing sleep deficits, there is also concern about other effects shift work can have on a person’s physical body, especially in the long-term sense.
If someone you know has a medical condition that they think is work-related, it may be covered by workers’ compensation. But the relationships that the medical condition or even a worker’s death has to the workplace must be proven, attorney Brody Ockander wrote in a previous blog post. Please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney with questions about a specific situation.
Regardless of the shift you work, have a safe and productive week.
Working at night increases the risk of breast cancer according to a recent study.
Objectives The potential mechanisms that link night-shift work with breast cancer have been extensively discussed. Exposure to light at night (LAN) depletes melatonin that has oncostatic and anti-estrogenic properties and may lead to a modified expression of estrogen receptor (ER) α. Here, we explored the association between shift work and breast cancer in subgroups of patients with ER-positive and -negative tumors.
Methods GENICA (Gene–ENvironment Interaction and breast CAncer) is a population-based case–control study on breast cancer with detailed information on shift work from 857 breast cancer cases and 892 controls. ER status was assessed by immunohistochemical staining. Associations between night-shift work and ER-positive and -negative breast cancer were analyzed with conditional logistic regression models, adjusted for potential confounders.
Results ER status was assessed for 827 cases and was positive in 653 and negative in 174 breast tumors. Overall, 49 cases and 54 controls were “ever employed” in shift work including night shifts for ≥1 year. In total, “ever shift work” and “ever night work” were not associated with an elevated risk of ER-positive or -negative breast tumors. Night work for ≥20 years was associated with a significantly elevated risk of ER-negative breast cancer [odds ratio (OR) 4.73, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.22–18.36].
Conclusions Our case–control study suggests that long-term night-shift work is associated with an increased risk of ER-negative breast cancers. Further studies on histological subtypes and the analysis of other potentially relevant factors are crucial for discovering putative mechanisms