Working Night shifts In Offshore Petroleum Platforms Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

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It is common for workers in the offshore industry to have night shifts, which could potentially increase their vulnerability to developing aggressive prostate cancer compared to those who exclusively work during daytime hours.

Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in men

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, after lung cancer, with approximately 1.4 million new cases reported annually. In Norway, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer among men, with over 5,000 new cases diagnosed every year. According to past research, individuals employed in the Norwegian offshore oil sector face a 20% greater likelihood of developing prostate cancer than the general population of Norway.

A group of scholars from the Cancer Registry of Norway and the University of Oslo aimed to determine if the likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer was related to working night shifts on offshore petroleum platforms.

The study involved 25,000 male petroleum platform workers, of whom 300 were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The study evaluated individuals who rotated between night and day shifts and those who only worked during the day. According to Leon Alexander Mclaren Berge, the researchers found that workers who rotated shifts had a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

Working night shifts in oil platforms increase prostate cancer risk

Rotating shifts meant working seven-day shifts followed by seven nights shifts in a 14-day work cycle or vice versa. Researchers established that individuals that worked over 19 years on a rotating shift schedule were at risk (86%) of having prostate cancers relative to those working day shifts. Berge explains that their findings should be interpreted cautiously since only a few cases of cancer were involved in the analysis.

The current understanding of the causes of this type of cancer remains limited. Experts suggest that advanced age and a family history of prostate cancer may increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as obesity, tobacco use, and exposure to certain substances may also contribute to the problem. For the current study, researchers believe that increased risk is a result of sleep cycle disruption over a long period.

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