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Can night shifts increase your risk of breast cancer? Here’s what experts has to say

Night shifts can up your risk of breast cancer: Here's what to know

Many professions demand night shifts. Are you too in such a job? you need to be more cautious then, research has revealed that night shifts can increase your risk of getting breast cancer. Here's what experts say.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : March 12, 2021 8:43 AM IST

Does your job demand night shifts? Well, we all know working on night shifts can leave your body in a very critical condition and can force your entire system to work on a schedule that goes against its natural circadian rhythms. From mental health,diabetes to metabolic and cardiovascular disease night shifts can take a serious toll on your health if not taken care of. And to add more to this list new research has revealed that those who do night shifts at work are at higher risk of suffering from breast cancer. To understand how that happens, a study was conducted by the researchers at Washington State University. Here's what they found:

What Happens When You Do The Night Shifts?

The researchers have found new clues as to why night shift workers may be at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer compared to those who work regular daytime hours.

What actually happens when you do the night shifts? Women working night shifts are five times more prone to suffer from chronic cancer diseases including skin cancer, lung cancer, and most breast cancer. Studies have shown that Melatonin which is responsible for prevents the growth of tumors in your body by way of anti-oxidation and immunity regulation. This particular process of natural secretion of melatonin gets hampered due to exposure to artificial lights during the night time and thus your chances of suffering from cancer increases.

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According to the findings, night shifts strongly interrupt the natural 24-hour rhythms in the activity of certain cancer-related genes, making night shift workers more vulnerable to DNA damage while also causing the body's DNA repair mechanisms to be mistimed to deal with that damage.

"There has been mounting evidence that cancer is more prevalent in night shift workers, which led the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify night shift work as a probable carcinogenic," said co-corresponding author Shobhan Gaddameedhi, an associate professor formerly with the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and now with North Carolina State University's Biological Sciences Department and Center for Human Health and the Environment.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

Now, that you already know that shift work is a big risk factor for breast cancer. It is very important for everyone to spot the symptoms. With cancer, the trick is to learn to understand the symptoms as early as possible and start the treatment. Here are some of the common symptoms:

1. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump-like formation in the breast.

2. One must get careful when there is an unexplained swelling in the breast. It can either mean you are suffering from breast cancer or some other extremely serious health condition.

3. Another common warning sign of breast cancer among women is redness or flaky skin especially in the nipple area or the breast.

4. Abnormal nipple discharge is also something serious which one should never ignore at any cost.

According to the researchers of the new study, night shift schedules throw off the timing of expression of cancer-related genes in a way that reduces the effectiveness of the body's DNA repair processes when they are most needed.

Are there any treatment options available in the country for breast cancer? Yes. Here's what you need to know.

One of the most common treatment options for breast cancer is surgery. This usually involves the removal of tumors and nearby margins. Some of the types of these surgeries are radical mastectomy, reconstruction, lumpectomy, and a partial mastectomy.

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