Friday, 16 November, 2018

Morning people have a lower risk of breast cancer

Lina Al Maeena with Jeddah United Lina Al Maeena with Jeddah United
Delores Daniels | 08 November, 2018, 04:01

Dr Rebecca Richmond, a research fellow in the Cancer Research UK Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme and the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol and colleagues looked at data from 180,215 women enrolled with the UK Biobank project, and 228,951 women who had been part of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer conducted by the global Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), which has the largest collection of genetic data on women with breast cancer obtained so far. She was not involved in this research.

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.

The data showed that women who were morning types, also known as "larks, ' had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who were evening types, or 'owls". Around 4% of U.S. cancer deaths were linked to drinking alcohol and the Breast Cancer Now charity warns that any alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer.

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In other words, it is at present unknown whether it is your genetic body clock itself, or living out of sync with it - for instance, forcing yourself to get up early for work if you are a lark - which affects your breast cancer risk.

They also found some evidence for a causal effect of increased sleep duration and sleep fragmentation on breast cancer. These genetic markers can show everything from "chronotype" (what times a person is most active) to risk of insomnia and the amount of sleep needed.

The researchers believe their findings have implications for policy-makers and employers.

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"While these intriguing results highlight the need for further investigation, changing your sleeping habits is not as easily done as other proven risk-reducing choices, as they're often part and parcel with jobs, parenting, or other health conditions", Dr. Emma Pennery, clinical director at Breast Cancer Care, told The Independent. Experts said the study presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow added to a growing understanding of the importance of sleep in all health.

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.

But they caution that it's too early to say whether being a night owl actually increases the risk of cancer or whether their preference for the evening is symptom of another, unknown risk factor. According to Cancer Research UK, around a quarter of cases might be preventable.

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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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