Ann Occup Environ Med.  2018 ;30(1):11. 10.1186/s40557-018-0221-4.

The relationship between night work and breast cancer

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Dongdaemun-gu Kyunghee-daero 23, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 3Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 4Department of Occupational Health, Catholic University of Daegu, Gyonsan-si, Republic of Korea.


Since the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified shift work that involves circadian disruption as "probably carcinogenic to humans," there has been growing concern on the relationship between night work and breast cancer. In Korea, about 10-15% of workers are engaged in night-shift work, and breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. The purpose of this study was to review epidemiologic evidence on the relationship between night work and breast cancer.
We reviewed 21 original articles and 5 meta analyses on relationship between nightwork and breast cancer, and investigated the compensation criteria of Denmark.
The association between breast cancer and night work has been reported by numerous epidemiologic studies, including cohort studies, case-control studies, and meta-analysis. However, a dose-response relationship has not clearly emerged among workers exposed to less than 20 years of night work.
Although there are some limitations to the epidemiological studies so far, further consideration of breast cancer cases in patients with high exposure to night work is needed to assess breast cancer as a work-related disease.


Breast neoplasm; Night work; Carcinogens
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