Shift work does not increase risk of prostate cancer

Shift work does not increase risk of prostate cancerA recent study out of Germany is casting doubts on previous research that suggested shift work would increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Previous research on men’s health revealed that shift work nearly tripled men’s risk of developing prostate cancer. These findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


The study at the time was based on previous research that suggested shift work could have a negative impact on health. Although that much has been shown to be true, current findings show no relation between shift work and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

In the article, which can be found in Deutsches Arzteblatt International, researchers did not find an increase risk of men developing prostate cancer while completing shift work.

Researchers examined the health of nearly 28,000 employees between 1995 and 2005. From the group, 337 developed prostate cancer, but this consisted of a mix of shift workers and daytime workers. The workers belonged to a chemical company in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The study looked at age, how long the men were employed at the plant, what they did there and records from occupational health services. The data for cancer was pulled from the state cancer registry. The results showed there were 146 new cases of prostate cancer in 12,609 shift workers, and 191 cases in the 15,219 regular daytime workers.

The researchers said shift workers did not show a higher risk of developing the cancer, but noted some differences were observed at the tumor stage.

Researchers note this is the first time that prostate cancer and shift work has been so closely analyzed and on a larger scale. Previous studies were smaller and so results may not have been definite. What can be taken away form previous researcher is a link between shift work and breast cancer, but as for prostate cancer, this new research shows no correlation.


In the U.S., more than two-million men are prostate cancer survivors. It is the most common cancer for men, after skin cancer and can often be treated successfully if caught early enough.

The study authors said further follow-up of this relatively young cohort is required.

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.