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Cancer and Night Shift Work

Joy1216's picture
Posts: 293
Joined: Mar 2006

I'm fed up with half-baked (insert your own word for baked) news coverage about cancer. On Friday, several sources stated that night shift work can be so detrimental to your body that a World Health Organization study says it should probably be classified as carcinogenic and that ACS would probably go along with it. The report from International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO's cancer agency, says shift workers have a higher risk of cancer than the general population. Another source said that the study concluded that shift work increased women's risk of breast and colon cancer and men's risk of prostate cancer because melatonin production occurs only in the dark. It went on to say that melatonin suppresses cancer.
I'm a stage 1 colon cancer survivor (diagnosed 03/06) and my husband has worked second shift for 26 of the last 31 years, so you can see why the summary got my attention. After considerable research, I read that their definition of shift work was when you alternate day and night shifts on a regular basis, not if you continually work the same non-day shift. Also I discovered that they were talking about shifts that start after dark, i.e., midnight shift, not shifts that start in the afternoon like my husband's does. I also found that melatonin production will occur if you sleep in a dark room during the daytime.
My point is that you can't take cancer research summaries at face value. You have to do your own research. A couple of more sentences in the summary would have changed the entire context of the article. Joy

Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Joy,
I saw the same story and went online to check it out. You are sooooo right. Half-baked is exactly what most cancer news coverage is!

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I think that most of the news stories are not totally accurate. I have learned to read the last few paragraphs in the story instead of the first few. Journalism students used to learn to write the most important part of the article first and somehow that has changed. The media has stopped reporting facts and is doing an a horrible job of giving us the facts so that we can make our own decisions about things. In the CT scan cancer scare, doctor's said that there was no way to even measure weather the scans actually caused the cancer. The reporting is so sensationalized!
How will we ever elect the next president?
Jo Ann

ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Joy,
Interesting,I worked in the Aust dept of Defence Computing services division for ten years. It was a rolling shift,week of day ,week of evening and week of midnight. We often felt that the disruption to our body clock was doing us damage. We worked with service personnel and if they got sick and had been on shift for two years or longer they were re posted to day work immediately. I often wondered whether the shifts had anything to do with me developing ca. Who knows ,cheers Ron.

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