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World Update, 'Morning people' have lower breast cancer risk
08 November 2018, 03:58 | Silvia Roy
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A study conducted among 400 000 women in the UK Biobank looked at approximately 450 biomarkers and found that earlier risers are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who up stay up late at night.
The scientists found that those with an in-built morning preference were 40% to 48% less at risk of breast cancer.
It also found that women who slept longer than seven to eight hours a night had a 20 percent increased risk of the disease per additional hour 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.
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"The team used a method called "'Mendelian randomization", which uses genetic variants linked to potential risk factors (in this case, circadian rhythm) to determine whether or not there is a causal relationship between the risk factor and a particular disease (in this case, breast cancer).
Rebecca Richmond, a research fellow at the University of Bristol involved in the study, said the findings could have implications for those working night shifts. 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 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 breast surgeon Cliona Kirwan.
And those who are sharper in the evening may have had more disrupted sleep, which could affect the risk of cancer.
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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. The Breast Cancer Walk, which centered at the Manhattanville College Campus and directed its way up to SUNY Purchase, totaled five kilometers.
But if you are a morning person, feel free to give yourself yet another pat on the back.
Dan Damon has been speaking to one of the researchers, Professor Richard Martin - an expert in cancer epidemiology from the University of Bristol. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.
The findings have been published on researchers' website bioRxiv but have not yet gone through scientific peer review.
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