Environmental lighting powerfully suppresses the physiologic release of melatonin, which typically peaks in the middle of the night. This decreased melatonin production has been hypothesized to increase the risk of cancer. Evidence from experimental studies supports a link between melatonin and tumor growth. There is also fairly consistent indirect evidence from observational studies for an association between melatonin suppression, using night work as a surrogate, and breast cancer risk.
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Vol. 79 • No. 4