Early birds may have lower breast cancer risk, study finds

08 November, 2018, 03:58 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Lina Al Maeena with Jeddah United

The study found that a preference for mornings reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent compared with being an evening type.

Scientists also found a higher breast cancer risk in women who sleep longer than eight hours at night.

However, Dr Richmond pointed out that the possible protective effect of being a morning person on breast cancer risk was in keeping with previous research showing that working night shifts and "light-at-night" exposure increased the risk of breast cancer.

Their findings were presented at the 2018 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Glasgow.

Around one in seven women in the United Kingdom will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

"These intriguing results add to the growing body of evidence that there is some overlap between the genetics of when we'd prefer to sleep and our breast cancer risk, but more research is required to unravel the specifics of this relationship", he said.

"These are interesting findings that provide further evidence of how our body clock and our natural sleep preference is implicated in the onset of breast cancer", said Cliona Clare Kirwan, a member of the NCRI Breast Clinical Studies Group.

But if you are a morning person, feel free to give yourself yet another pat on the back.

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Researchers looked at 341 pieces of DNA and used them for an experiment involving over 400,000 women. Researchers then mapped the genetic variations between the earlier risers and the night owls and compared it with that to the risk of developing cancer. The Breast Cancer Walk, which centered at the Manhattanville College Campus and directed its way up to SUNY Purchase, totaled five kilometers.

Dr Richmond and her colleagues are planning to investigate the mechanisms underlying the effects of different sleep characteristics on the risk of developing breast cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, around a quarter of cases might be preventable.

"We know already that night shift work is associated with worse mental and physical health".

So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer?

However, cancer experts say modifying your sleep patterns probably won't have a significant impact on your cancer risk.

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

"In terms of the implications of the research, it supports existing evidence that sleep patterns influence cancer risk, but it remains unclear how individual preferences for early or late rising interact with actual sleep behaviours", Moorthie wrote in an email.

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