Friday, 16 November, 2018

Early Risers Less Likely To Develop Breast Cancer Than Night Owls

Breast cancer awareness Breast cancer awareness
Celia Hoffman | 08 November, 2018, 03:59

More good news for those smug early risers who can get up at the crack of dawn to do yoga before work: You're less likely to develop breast cancer than night owls.

The researchers who compared data on hundreds of thousands of women found that those with an in-built morning preference were 40 per cent to 48 per cent less at risk of breast cancer.

It also found that women who slept longer than seven to eight hours a night had a 20 percent increased risk of the disease per additional hour slept.

But the team point out that many factors are involved in a person developing breast cancer and that these numbers are not an absolute risk.

The research - which was presented Tuesday at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Glasgow - adds to previous findings suggesting women who work night shifts or sleep in brighter environments have a higher risk of developing cancer.

Cliona Kirwan, consultant breast surgeon and researcher at the University of Manchester, said: "The use of Mendelian randomisation in this study enables the researchers to examine the causal effect on breast cancer of different sleep patterns".

And those who are sharper in the evening may have had more disrupted sleep, which could affect the risk of cancer. In each case, the risk of cancer appears to be increased by the body being out of kilter with the natural world.

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"We know that sleep is important generally for health", said Richmond. Dr Richmond said: "These findings have potential policy implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce the risk of breast cancer among women".

"The statistical method used in this study, called Mendelian randomization, does not always allow causality to be inferred", said Dipender Gill, clinical research training fellow at Imperial College London.

Careem, one of the region's leading technology organizations, launched a breast cancer awareness campaign in partnership with the Qatar Cancer Society last October.

The findings have been published on researchers' website bioRxiv but have not yet gone through scientific peer review.

She tells the BBC: "We still need to get at what makes an evening person more at risk than a morning person... we need to unpick the relationship". About 5 per cent of women with breast cancer have inherited a gene linked to the condition.

There are theories around the causes of sleep's effect on cancer, she said, such as the idea that artificial light at night leads to hormonal disruption.

About the NCRI Cancer ConferenceThe NCRI Cancer Conference is the UK's largest forum showcasing the latest advances in cancer research.

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