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Frontpage News 2012 Research to prevent breast cancer

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Research to prevent breast cancer

Norwegian and Polish researchers seek to identify if working night shifts pose an environmental risk factor for breast cancer.

Night shift work has for a long time been viewed as a factor leading to several dangerous diseases, including cancer. By studying 725 nurses and midwives in Poland, researchers at the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Łódź and the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo aim to expand the knowledge of whether and how night shift work influences the risk of developing breast cancer.

This study, which involves 356 nurses and midwives working night shifts and 269 carrying out their duties only during the day, is one of the first complex studies evaluating the possible relationship between shift work, biological effects, genetic conditions, and the risk of breast cancer. It aims to confirm the thesis that for nurses, long-term night shift work may contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer.

The data received through the study will be compared with information from questionnaires covering aspects such as career, lifestyle, and other risk factors potentially increasing breast cancer morbidity, as well as with research results of biological, mammographic and anthropometric samples.

The €600,000 in support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway also allowed for an initial analysis, which helped to eliminate shift work as a cause of increased risk of breast cancer. The long term goal of the project is to offer a new way of viewing issues of work organisation for staff working night shifts.