Early Risers Less Likely To Develop Breast Cancer Than Night Owls

Ebony Scott
November 9, 2018

Researchers at the University of Bristol analyzed data from 180,215 women enrolled with the U.K. Biobank project, and 228,951 women who participated in genome-wide association study of breast cancer led by the global Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

This type of statistical model, called Mendelian randomization, showed that people whose genes made them more likely to be early risers were less likely to develop breast cancerby as much as 48%, as shown from the 220,000 participants in the study. British researchers analyzed two data banks that included more than 409,000 women to investigate the link between sleep traits and breast cancer risk.

Dr Richmond said further research is required to "investigate the mechanism underlying the effects of different sleep characteristics on the risk of developing breast cancer".

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

"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.

"It may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that", Richmond said in a statement.

Our circadian rhythms, or body clocks, control bodily functions such as sleep patterns, blood pressure and metabolism and when disturbed can increase the risk of cancers and other diseases.

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Dr Emma Pennery, of the Breast Cancer Care charity, said: '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'.

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.

That's according to European researchers looking at International Genetic Data.

Breast Cancer walks, such as this one, take place around the country and aid in finding a cure and raising awareness for this disease.

Dr Rebecca Richmond, one of the researchers from the University of Bristol, told the BBC: "The findings are potentially very important because sleep is ubiquitous and easily modified".

So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer? "I wouldn't support that women should get up earlier to reduce risk of breast cancer".

The study was presented Tuesday at the U.K.'s National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) annual cancer conference, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Other reports by GizPress

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