Medicine

Study finds morning people are less likely to develop breast cancer

Study finds morning people are less likely to develop breast cancer

People tend to be genetically programmed to fall into either of these categories. She was not involved in this research. They found two in 100 owls developed breast cancer over an eight year period, compared to one in 100 larks.

"What we can be certain of is that all women - larks and owls - can reduce their risk of breast cancer by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing their alcohol intake".

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.

Richmond stressed that the 48% lower risk was identified among "extreme" cases, where people identified themselves as "definite" morning people out of the five categories they could chose from - definite morning, more morning than evening, neither, more evening than morning, definite evening.

"More work is needed to understand why sleep characteristics may be linked to breast cancer risk".

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"The authors do not show any biological mechanism by which sleep timing preference could influence breast cancer risk".

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".

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 worldwide Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), which has the largest collection of genetic data on women with breast cancer obtained so far. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.

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

"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".

"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.


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