Night shift work linked to cancer risk in men

Night shift work linked to cancer risk in men
Researchers have found that men who have disturbed sleep patterns and therefore lowered melatonin levels, had significantly higher levels of cancer risk, particularly for prostate, lung and bladder cancers.
Disturbed sleep patterns and night shift working linked to higher risk of cancer in men

Researchers from the University of Quebec found that men who work on night shifts have a much greater risk of a number of other types of cancer, with higher rates of tumours in the bowel, bladder and lungs. (American Journal of Epidemiology).

At CANCERactive, we have told you many times how disturbed sleep, late nights, sleeping in bedrooms that are not totally dark or are influenced by artificial light - all increase the risk of breast cancer. The root of this link is because people with disturbed sleeping patterns produce less melatonin which is a strong antioxidant, immune stimulant and is a regulator of  oestrogen and growth hormone levels in the body. Melatonin is also a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and helps reduce toxic-load in cells as it is a free-radical scavenger. 

And we have warned you that aggressive oestrogen (oestradiol, or estradiol) drives men’s cancers too not just breast cancer in women.  Indeed oestrogen drives a significant proportion of all cancers and has been linked to colon, lung, prostate, testicular and brain tumours, not just breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer.


The University of Quebec researchers found night shifts almost trebled the risk of prostate cancer and doubled a man’s chances of bowel cancer. Night workers were also 76 per cent more likely to suffer lung cancer and 70 per cent more at risk of a tumour in the bladder. 

For prostate, bowel and bladder cancer, the dangers were greatest among those who had worked nights for at least ten years. 


(Chris Woollams, founder of CANCERactive and former Oxford University Biochemist added, "It is one of our many hobby horses at CANCERactive: Women with breast cancer are tested immediately to determine whether the disease is driven by estrogen. But no one ever tests a man with prostate cancer or any other cancer for that matter. Worse some men with prostate cancer were even given oestrogen! One oncologist we interviewed even said, ’We use it because it works’, ignoring the fact that it only works for a couple of years at best. We find this continued ignorance and mythology alarming. For the record, I know of two male oncologists who take melatonin every night before going to bed to prevent prostate cancer, and, for me, that says it all!)



October - December Cancer Watch 2012
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