Did night shifts cause my cancer?

Did night shifts cause my cancer?

PiNK 2020 Spring issue

【Your Questions Answered】Breast Cancer Care’s experts answer your questions about breast cancer and its treatments.

Q: I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month. I worked night shifts for many years and read online that this could cause breast cancer. Is this right?

A: For many years it was suggested that night shift work may increase the risk of breast cancer. But a recent analysis from the Breast Cancer Now Generations Study, which looked at night shift work and breast cancer risk in the UK, found no clear evidence that working pattern increases a woman’s chance of developing the disease. This means that women who work during the night are no more likely to develop breast cancer than those who do not.

Breast cancer is a complex disease and it’s impossible to identify a single cause. We don’t fully understand why some people get breast cancer and some don’t. Research suggests that breast cancer is caused by lots of different factors, but many of these are out of our control. The three main risk factors for develop- ing breast cancer are being a woman, getting older, and for some having a significant family history of the disease.