Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can Working the Late Shift Cause Breast Cancer?

As a member of the Army of Women to help with breast cancer research, I feel the need to post this in case anyone knows people that can help with the study!


Dr. Susan Love recently posted a blog on the Huffington Post hoping to raise awareness for the Army of Women and one of our current studies that we need help closing, the Shiftwork and Breast Cancer Risk Study. 

We need help from all of our bloggers to close this important study!  We hope that you will blog about the Shiftwork and Breast Cancer Risk Study, and encourage all your friends/family to spread the word about the study!

You can use Dr. Love’s content for your post, see below:

In an age where everything is open 24/7, there's a growing number of women and men who now work the graveyard shift accommodating the night owls.  It's no longer limited to nurses and flight attendants! The clerks at Walmart, the 24-hour drive-thru windows and the customer service telephone operators that we call when our computer breaks or our WiFi goes down are working overnight hours as well. What these night workers may not know is that epidemiological research suggests that working the graveyard shift increases their risk for breast cancer. But the big question remains: Why?

Unfortunately, much of the research on breast cancer has been done in rats and mice! There are certainly some important findings that can come from this type of investigation; however, we have yet to hear of a mouse working the night shift. For this we need to study women!  And if we want to understand the connection between working the night shift and breast cancer we need to study women who work the night shift and compare them to women who work days.

The  Army of Women, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, is currently recruiting for the Shift Work and Breast Cancer Risk Study led by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  The research team is studying breast tissue samples from women who have not had breast cancer, who have worked either day or night shifts (stay-at-home mothers qualify as day-shift-workers; nurses, police women, firefighters, hotel workers, factory workers qualify as night-shift-workers) for at least five consecutive years to better understand how wake/sleep cycle disruptions may increase breast cancer risk. Later, the researchers will compare the samples collected from women who have not had breast cancer to breast tissue samples collected from women with breast cancer.

Learn more and sign up for the Shift Work and Breast Cancer Risk Study:

This study is a good example of the kind of research we desperately need! For all the fundraising we have done, we still don't know the cause of breast cancer. The vast majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known risk factors. Obviously we are missing something big! So even if you are not a night shift worker, you should consider signing up for the Army of Women. We need to compare women with breast cancer to those who haven't been diagnosed! We need to explore the potential environmental links as well as the possibility that a virus could be the cause.

The Army of Women initiative, funded through a grant by the Avon Foundation for Women, was launched as a way to help researchers connect directly with women who are interested in participating in breast cancer research studies. Volunteers sign up at and get an email alert every time a new study is seeking volunteers (once or twice a month). You get to decide which one you fit and/or are comfortable participating in. Some studies are as simple as an online questionnaire while others involve giving blood, spit or even tissue samples. And if you don't fit the study, you can pass it on to everyone you know. The Army of Women has amazed the scientific community by their ability to recruit participants from across the country and world, rapidly saving years of effort and lots of money. 

Join more than 354,000 women (and a few good men) who are willing to go the next step in eradicating breast cancer.  The Army of Women needs YOU!

To learn more about the Shiftwork and Breast Cancer Risk Study, click here:

To learn more about the Army of Women and to sign up, click here:

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