Jobs that can give you cancer
In today's 24-hour society, someone always has to work the night shift. Try to make sure that someone isn't you -- especially if you're a woman.
We've known for years now that shift work can boost the risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more for men and women alike. Now, women can add one more risk to that long (and growing) list: breast cancer.
Women who work at least two nights a week have a 40 percent higher risk of the disease than those who work days, according to new research out of Denmark... and believe it or not, those are actually the lowest numbers in the study.
The risk doubles in women who work three or more nights for at least six years, and shoots up by 400 percent in women with night jobs who describe themselves as "morning people," according to the study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Part of the problem is that shift work itself comes with a bunch of other unhealthy habits. Just try finding a place to get a healthy meal at 2 a.m., and forget finding energy for the gym after spending all night on the job.
But there's more to it than that.
Shift work throws your circadian rhythm out of whack, and that alone is a risk factor for disease. Your body also relies on those normal signals of "light" and "dark" to activate "wake" and "rest" functions -- such as the production of the hormone melatonin, which our bodies make at night.
You may know melatonin as the sleep hormone, but it does so much more than that -- and there's plenty of evidence that it can help protect against cancer.
And that's a big part of the reason shift work has been linked to cancer before, and not just breast cancer. It's such a widely recognized risk factor for so many cancers that the World Health Organization has listed it as a "probable carcinogen."
In addition, people who work nights face a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and more.
Some people work toward a promotion or a pay raise. If you're on the night shift, make it your goal to work toward something that's better than either: Work your way onto the day shift instead.
Speaking of cancer, I've got some news for those of you who are fighting the disease and need a little help overcoming fatigue.