Regular and prolonged night-shifts are likely to increase the risk of cancer, according to an expert group of researchers.
The group working on behalf of the World Health Organisation includes Danish senior researcher Johnni Hansen of the Danish Cancer Society, whose specialist areas include the working environment and night work.
Cause and effect
The link between poor sleep and bad health is certainly nothing new, but it is believed the increased risk of cancer is caused by disruption of the hormone melatonin.
The hormone plays a crucial role in governing repair processes that take place during our sleep – exposure to light suppresses melatonin and therefore interferes with the body’s natural nocturnal processes.
Those of us who cannot avoid night-work should do all we can to only work a few consecutive shifts – it is also advised the number of years be limited.
Managing both of these routines is believed to reduce the risks.
Double glazing is just fine
Double-glazed windows are better for our health than newer triple-glazed solutions. Research conducted by AAU and DTU found that the additional layer of glass blocked out UVB rays from the sun, and consequently vitamin D is not absorbed. Older two-layer glass panels do allow this to happen. The triple-glazed argument for better energy consumption was also found to be weak. Identical apartment blocks were used in the research and fitted with each type of window – no gains were found regarding energy consumption.
New nurses battle with stress
The Danish Nursing Council has found that one in 12 graduate nurses has been on sick leave due to stress-related or psychological reasons in their first working year. Whilst the figure is not an increase from 2017, it is considered to be high. A representative from the council indicated that many nurses are getting a bad start to their career due to a lack of time and opportunity to receive a proper introduction. Advice and guidance is available to nurses suffering from stress via the Dansk Sygeplejeråd website.
Clarifying the free hospital choice
The regions have sought to clarify what the free hospital choice means for patients following some confusion over the rules. Essentially, any referral you receive for examination or treatment at a regional hospital should be carried out within one month. If the 30-day deadline cannot be met, the extended free choice kicks in, meaning you can be referred to a co-operating private hospital to be treated. The chosen private hospital must not have a longer waiting time than other possible choices. There are other exceptions where a choice is not available, such as organ transplants or life-threatening diseases. The bulk of exceptions can be described as non-life threatening discretionary treatments.