Exceptional Values. Save Big!
Quality Vitamins and Supplements
Your bible for entrepreneurism and personal development.



Holisticonline Home

Inspirational Reading

Healthy Recipes

Nutrition & Diet


Prayer/ Spirituality

Selected Prayers

Preferred Providers
Conditions/ Treatments
Alternative Therapies
Alternative Medicine

Stress Management




Herbal Medicine


Night Work and Cancer Risk

By Joan Edstrom

There have been significant research results indicating an association between light exposure during the evening and breast and colon cancer. A study of women at the Danish Institute of Cancer Epidemiology reported that women who had worked in careers such as flight attending, catering, and worked more than 60% at night for a minimum of six months had a 50 per cent greater incidence of breast cancer.

Another study by Harvard Medical School of 80,000 nurses shows that women who swing regularly from day to night work raise their risk of colon and rectal cancer by 35%. (Research studies are not 100% conclusive and it should be noted that research is ongoing.)

Here is the theory behind the link between night work and cancer risk: Light is the primary stimulus to the disruption and resetting of our pineal gland located in the hypothalamus area of the brain. The pineal gland controls our melatonin production and is turned on at night, and is turned off by detectable light. Melatonin is a hormone that protects us from the growth of tumors by increasing our immune response, by reducing estrogen, which promotes cell growth in the breast, and by grabbing up free radicals (caused by the fat we eat- tumors love fatty acids).

Our production of melatonin follows our circadian (day/night internal) clock. Our pineal gland starts making melatonin around eight o’clock p.m., but only in the dark. The amount produced peaks around 3 a.m. and ebbs by 7 a.m. Any light during the night such as moonlight, night lights, clock light, or bathroom lights will shut down the gland. When we go back to darkness, the gland will resume production, but the amount of melatonin will not reach peak levels again for the night.

There are ways for night shift workers to reduce cancer risk. Working consistently just at night will eventually enable a person to produce melatonin during the day while sleeping. Also, risk can be reduced by eating a vegetable-rich diet low in saturated fat, exercising and by refraining from smoking.

Works Cited: 

Hansen, Johnni. "Increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly at night." Epidemiology 12 (2001): 74-77. Jan. 2001 

Schernhammer, Eva. “Melatonin and cancer risk, Does light at night compromise physiologic cancer protection by lowering serum melatonin levels?.” British Journal of Cancer 90 (2004): 941-943.

Dawidowska, Kasia. Prevention. Emmaus: Nov 2003. Vol 55, Iss. 11; pg 178 

See Also:

Bringing Wellness Home
Today's busy lifestyles leave little 'spare' time. Indeed, the pace we expect to maintain demands that we take premium care of ourselves; body, mind and spirit. Just as we understand we need to care for our expensive automobiles to keep them working properly, so we need to realize we are using billion dollar bodies which cannot be replaced.

Seven Steps to Live Longer
Research shows that even small lifestyle changes can be a major factor in a long healthy life.

Addiction to Blame
It became apparent to Allen that he would not be able to stop blaming his wife until he stopped blaming and judging himself. His addiction to blaming others was a direct result of his self-abuse.

6 A's Of Healthy Living
The 6 A’s of Healthy Living are: Acceptance, Accomplishments, Attitude, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Acidophilus And American Ginseng.

More Articles on Health & Lifestyle

Sign up for our newsletter for more great information! http://www.workatnight.com

[Recipes][Great Reading][Home Improvement][Health][Holistic Living][Holisticonline][EntrepreneurismBible.com]

1stholistic.com and Holisticonline.com are developed and maintained by ICBS
Send mail to: info@holisticonline.com with comments about this web site.
Copyright © 1998-2013 ICBS Terms of Use
All Rights Reserved.