Light at night and breast cancer incidence in Connecticut: An ecological study of age group effects

Sci Total Environ. 2016 Dec 1;572:1020-1024. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.08.006. Epub 2016 Aug 13.


The aim of this study was to test the prediction that within the state of Connecticut, USA, communities with high nighttime outdoor light level would have higher breast cancer incidence rates. Breast cancer cases were identified from the Connecticut Tumor Registry, the oldest within the United States, for years 2005 and 2009 and geocoded to the 829 census tracts in the state. Nighttime light level (LAN) was obtained from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), 1996/97 satellite image, providing a 10-year lag. Regression models were used incorporating the LAN levels and census level data on potential confounders for the whole female population of the state, and for separate age groups. Light level emerged as a significant predictor of breast cancer incidence. After taking account of several potential confounders, the excess risk in the highest LAN level census tracts compared to the lowest was about 63% (RR=1.63; 95% CI=1.41, 1.89). The association of LAN with breast cancer incidence weakened with age; the association was strongest among premenopausal women.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Circadian disruption; Ecological study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Light*
  • Lighting*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult