Light at night, which may cause circadian disruption, is a potential pancreatic cancer risk factor. However, evidence from related exposures such as poor sleep health and shift work remains inconclusive and sparsely investigated.


We evaluated associations between self-reported typical sleep duration, chronotype, shift work, insomnia symptoms, snoring, and daytime sleeping and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) incidence among 475,286 UK Biobank participants. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, duration, and frequency, alcohol intake, diabetes status, race, and employment/shift work.


Over 14 years of follow-up, 1,079 adults were diagnosed with PDAC. There were no associations observed between sleep characteristics, including sleep duration [<7 vs. 7–<9 hours; HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.90–1.19; ≥9 hours; HR, 1.00 (0.81–1.24), evening chronotype (“definitely” an evening person vs. “definitely” a morning person; HR, 0.99 (0.77–1.29)], shift work, insomnia symptoms, snoring, or daytime sleep and PDAC risk.


Self-reported typical sleep characteristics and shift work were not associated with PDAC risk.


Considering the role of light at night and shift work in circadian disruption and cancer risk, it is plausible that poor sleep health among a general population may be related to cancer risk through similar sleep and circadian disrupting processes. This work may suggest that typical sleep characteristics and shift work are not associated with PDAC, although additional work is needed to confirm these findings.

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