Frequenting Gambling Establishments Is A Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Do not neglect your health. Get Screened Today.

There are many risk factors that increase the chances of breast cancer for women, working at gambling establishments has been identified as another risk factor by researchers. Researchers found a statistically significant relationship between employment at gambling establishments and breast cancer as a result of second-hand smoking.[1] A second potential pathway could be the repeated exposure to light at night which disturbs the circadian system with alterations of sleep-activity patterns, suppression of melatonin production, and de-regulation of circadian genes for night workers at gambling establishments.[2] It also means that females generally who frequent gambling establishments and spend a significant amount of time there will also be exposed to these same risks to Breast Cancer.

In addition, women experiencing gambling related problems often engage in risky behaviors like alcohol[3], smoking[4] and illicit substance use. These are all behaviors that are risk factors for breast cancer. Gamblers will sometimes neglect preventative care. Women who gamble also do so to numb pain or chronic health issues such as a diagnosis of breast cancer, what we call “escape gamblers”.[5] This hidden addiction can often go unnoticed as more women are able to gamble online in their homes, on mobile devices, or even buying lottery while grocery shopping. Women with breast cancer are also at risk for depression and might be prescribed medications such as Rexulti[6] and Abilify[7]; that may cause uncontrollable urges to gamble according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Be aware of the Signs: This brief biosocial gambling screen can help you self- identify if you are at risk for developing a gambling problem.

During the past 12 months,

  • Have you become restless, irritable or anxious when trying to stop/cut down on gambling?
  • Have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled?
  • Did you have such financial trouble as a result of your gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family, friends or welfare?

A ‘yes” answer to any of the questions means the person is at risk for developing a gambling problem.

Gamble Responsibly

  • Play for entertainment!
  • Only gamble with money you can afford to lose! Do not chase your losses!
  • Set money and time limits and stick to them!
  • Do not gamble while drinking excessively!
  • Do not gamble to avoid pain or problems!
  • Do not gamble if you are lonely, upset, depressed, tired or angry!

Help is Available

  • Call for help 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – 800-GAMBLER and speak with a gambling helpline staff member (All calls are confidential) or Text ‘800GAMBLER’ to 800GAMBLER
  • Visit for information, resources, or live chat

Attend a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) or Gam-Anon meeting in your area; meeting locations, times, and dates can be found by calling 800-GAMBLER or by visiting our website at


[1] Brophy et al., “Breast Cancer Risk in Relation to Occupations with Exposure to Carcinogens and Endocrine Disruptors: A Canadian Case–control Study.”
[2] Kurt Straif, Robert Baan, Yann Grosse, Béatrice Secretan, Fatiha El Ghissassi, Véronique Bouvard, Andrea Altieri, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, “Carcinogenicity of Shift-Work, Painting, and Fire- Fighting.”
[3] Mcdonald, Goyal, and Terry, “Alcohol Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: Weighing the Overall Evidence.”
[4] Pierce et al., “Lifetime Cigarette Smoking and Breast Cancer Prognosis in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project.”
[5] Bortz, “Gambling Addiction Affects More Men and Women, Seduced by Growing Casino Accessibility.”
[6] Lamb, “Side Effect: Impulse / Compulsive Behavior (Gambling, Shopping, Sex).”
[7]Research, “Drug Safety and Availability – FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA Warns about New Impulse-Control Problems Associated with Mental Health Drug Aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada).”


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