Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Morning people have a lower risk of breast cancer

Morning people have a lower risk of breast cancer

New research suggests women who tend to be "night owls" are at greater risk for breast cancer.

The morning people had a reduced risk of more than 40%, compared to the night owls. The study also found that women who sleep more than seven to eight hours have a 20% increased risk for each additional hour after that that they slept.

Cancer risks associated with a person's body clock and sleep patterns have been reported in previous research and the United Kingdom researchers wanted to explore sleep traits in more detail, as well as any genetic factors underlying this.

'In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that.

"However, the findings of a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk in our study are consistent with previous research highlighting a role for night shift work and exposure to "light-at-night" as risk factors for breast cancer". And obesity is set to become the leading preventable cause of breast cancer for women in the United Kingdom, according to a report from earlier this year.

"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.

Results from 228,951 women enrolled in an worldwide genetic study conducted by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) were also included in the analysis.

"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.

There is good news if you are a morning person. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.

In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women passed away from breast cancer, that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women. "These findings have potential policy implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce risk of breast cancer among women".

The Medifem Multi-Specialist Hospital & Fertility Centre has rounded up a series of activities put together to mark Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in October. Men and women of all ages are encouraged to check themselves for breast cancer as it can affect anyone.

Experts not involved in the research welcomed the findings - although they cautioned that it was too early to change any behaviour until more research can be conducted.

Like this: