When I first read this article from the Washington Post, I thought oh no, not another cancer scare. It seemed ridiculous at first. The study showed that those women who live in areas that are brightly lit at night have a higher rate of breast cancer.
At this point I was thinking, come on please, why are you trying to scare us. But they took night time satellite images to determine which geographical areas are most lit, and then found out the cancer rates of those individuals living there. Well the women that lived in these brightly lit night areas had a higher breast cancer rate.
This report also aligned with other studies in rats. Rats that slept at night with lights on also had a higher rate of cancer. It’s not proven but scientist link this higher rate of cancer to low levels of melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. The more melatonin the less chance you have of getting cancer. Supposedly, if you are a person who works the third shift (nurses, flight attendants…) this melatonin is produced at a lower rate than normal. The study results showed that nurses that work the third shift have a 60% higher rate of breast cancer even taking into consideration other mitigating factors.
Even more interesting, blind women produce higher rates of melatonin than average and have a lower than average rate of breast cancer.
Rats that slept at night with lights on were given melatonin injections. In those rats their rate of cancer was below average.