The association between different night shiftwork factors and breast cancer: A case-control study

L. Fritschi, T. C. Erren, D. C. Glass, J. Girschik, A. K. Thomson, C. Saunders, T. Boyle, S. El-Zaemey, P. Rogers, S. Peters, T. Slevin, A. D'orsogna, F. De Vocht, R. Vermeulen, J. S. Heyworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Background:Research on the possible association between shiftwork and breast cancer is complicated because there are many different shiftwork factors, which might be involved including: light at night, phase shift, sleep disruption and changes in lifestyle factors while on shiftwork (diet, physical activity, alcohol intake and low sun exposure).Methods:We conducted a population-based case-control study in Western Australia from 2009 to 2011 with 1205 incident breast cancer cases and 1789 frequency age-matched controls. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect demographic, reproductive, and lifestyle factors and lifetime occupational history and a telephone interview was used to obtain further details about the shiftwork factors listed above.Results:A small increase in risk was suggested for those ever doing the graveyard shift (work between midnight and 0500 hours) and breast cancer (odds ratio (OR)=1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.97-1.39). For phase shift, we found a 22% increase in breast cancer risk (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.01-1.47) with a statistically significant dose-response relationship (P=0.04). For the other shiftwork factors, risks were marginally elevated and not statistically significant.Conclusion:We found some evidence that some of the factors involved in shiftwork may be associated with breast cancer but the ORs were low and there were inconsistencies in duration and dose-response relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2472-2480
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • case-control
  • shiftwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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