Research linked outdoor light at night with increased breast cancer risk in women


In Boston, a research on cancer, as published by eNews has established that ‘women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels.’ This is the outcome of a research from a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To this end, the link is stronger especially ‘among women who worked night shifts’ careers.

According to the lead author Peter James, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, the prevalence of light during night in modern time is another factor around the cause of Cancer.

“In our modern industrialized society, artificial lighting is nearly ubiquitous. Our results suggest that this widespread exposure to outdoor lights during nighttime hours could represent a novel risk factor for breast cancer.”

Previous studies, in this regards, ‘have suggested that exposure to light at night may lead to decreased levels of the hormone melatonin, which can disrupt circadian rhythms—our internal “clocks” that govern sleepiness and alertness—and, in turn, lead to increased breast cancer risk.’

In ‘the new study’ which is regarded as ‘the most comprehensive to date to examine possible links between outdoor light at night and breast cancer, looked at data from nearly 110,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II from 1989-2013.’

Stating the methodology, the report noted that the ‘researchers linked data from satellite images of Earth taken at nighttime to residential addresses for each study participant, and also considered the influence of night shift work.’ Moreso, ‘the study factored in detailed information on a variety of health and socioeconomic factors among participants.’

“Women exposed to the highest levels of outdoor light at night—those in the top fifth—had an estimated 14% increased risk of breast cancer during the study period, as compared with women in the bottom fifth of exposure, the researchers found. As levels of outdoor light at night increased, so did breast cancer rates.”











Reporter: Ridwan A Olayiwola

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