According to research, women who work at night have a higher chance of falling ill to cancer, especially those often asked to do multiple tasks within their shifts. The more hours they work, the more vulnerable they become in getting the life threatening condition.
Usually, female employees in their 30s and 40s are more prone to cancer and that risk only doubles for those who work longer hours or odd shifts. The tragedy is that many don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their bodies until it’s too late. Most suffer from skin cancer, breast cancer, and also cancer of the digestive system. The ones who are most susceptible to these are nurses who work night shifts.
There are a number of reasons why these women who work night shifts are more susceptible to cancer compared to their morning counterparts. One of them is disruptions in hormone levels such as melatonin which increases at night in response to the dark. The hormone is suppressed in working women who work late night under artificial light. However, those conditions can also result in tumors since the hormone is an antioxidant.
Besides this, a disrupted sleep cycle can also increase chances of cancer since it disrupts the genes that are responsible for repairing our DNA. This leads to the formation of abnormal cells that can turn cancerous with time.
Making the workplace cancer free
It is the employer’s responsibility to prevent employees from falling sick and to give them a workplace that does not result in a life threatening condition. Unless the unique safety requirements of late night female workers are not taken into consideration, there will be an increase in chronic diseases among those employees.
Employers can prevent that from happening by giving them more flexible work hours and health screenings to detect concerns. The following are some additional corrective measures that can reduce chronic diseases in late night female workers.
Eliminate harmful exposures
Some of the harmful substances that can cause cancer in the workplace include asbestos, radon and diesel fumes. Constant exposure can cause certain types of cancers in women and especially those who work in construction or as delivery truck drivers. Plus, secondhand smoke can also kill even those who don’t smoke or use tobacco in any way or form.
These hazards can be eliminated if workers are provided smoke free workplaces and protective gear that can prevent exposure.
Certain unhealthy behaviors can also cause cancer. This includes chewing and smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol in large amounts, poor diet or eating habits and lack of exercise.
To prevent these, employers can introduce wellness programs in the workplace that can promote healthy habits in employees and encourage them to exercise more. This includes seminars that discuss the harmful effects of smoking and which cover alternative methods for stress management. These solutions can go a long way in preventing not only cancer, but also a wealth of other life threatening ailments.
Believe it or not, but chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity also increase a person’s chance of getting cancer. In women, this often takes the form of breast, colon and pancreatic cancer. Most night shift female workers are overweight or obese which makes them more susceptible to these life threatening diseases.
Weight management programs and health screenings can highlight issues for such employees which they may not be aware of themselves. By assuring them that their medical reports will not be shared, employers can help their female staff in take an active role in becoming healthier. As they get healthier with time, chances of them getting cancer reduce as well.
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