New research shows that artificial light at night can be a cancer risk for women.
Sleeping with the light on could cause breast cancer, a recent study suggests. The research confirms many studies suggesting that artificial light at night causes the disease by interfering with sleep cycles.
The National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences conducted the research and say that it may answer the mystery of why levels of breast cancer are higher in advanced and wealthy nations, which are five times as high as in the third world.
About half of all breast cancer is believed to be caused by family history, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, medicines, childlessness and giving birth late in life. The rest of the cases, evidence increasingly suggests, may be due to electric light during the hours of darkness.
Many studies have shown that those women who work the graveyard shift, such as nurses or flight attendants, are up to 60 percent more likely to get breast cancer. Another found that those who stayed up late several times a week are also much more likely to get the disease. In addition, blind women are half as likely to get breast cancer.
Experts believe that because humans evolved without electric light over thousands of generations, the body is not designed to be exposed to light 24-7 and be alert and awake during the night.
Studies show that the human body receiving light at night disrupts the healthy production of one of the body's greatest natural cancer defenses: Melatonin. It is called the "hormone of darkness" because it is released by the pineal gland at night in the early hours of the morning. It stops the cancer growth and boosts the body's immune system. Light, however, interferes with its production, and tricks the body into thinking it's day instead of night.
What experts recommend to protect yourself from breast cancer risk: