Around 20% of workers take part in shift work. But recent studies have shown that people who work the night shift suffer health wise. The age faster, gain more weight, and have worse sleep habits. They are at higher risk for serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Shift workers are also more likely to develop skin cancer. Women who work the night shift have an increased risk of breast cancer. And all of these workers endure a higher likelihood of suffering an injury on the job. A recent NPR report found that driving at the wee hours of the morning or very late at night is the equivalent of having consumed a few alcoholic beverages. But a new German study bucks the trend. Published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, researchers found that night shift work does not increase the risk of prostate cancer compared to day shift workers.
A few studies previous to this one have explored the relationship between shift work and prostate cancer. But none were to this scale. Researchers poured through health and personnel data for nearly 28,000 workers. Each was or had been employed by a chemical company in Rhineland-Palatinate between 1995 and 2005. Of these, 340 workers developed prostate cancer. Previous studies were small. But their findings contradicted this one. However this study was well-documented, larger, and included a lot of data, making it more reliable. Those men 40 and over who are African-American or have someone in the family who had prostate cancer should talk to their doctor or urologist about screening. All men over 50 should also discuss prevention options with a medical professional. The later it is caught the worse off the patient generally is. Just know that if you are working the night shift, it may be affecting your health. But one place it isn’t affecting is your prostate.