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09 November 2018, 10:03 | Randall Craig
New research conducted in the United Kingdom found that women who wake up earlier in the morning have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Using a genetic method known as Mendelian randomization, researchers found that women who prefer mornings have a 40 to 48 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
Part of the analysis also showed that women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours per night increased their chances of being diagnosed by 20 per cent per additional hour spent asleep.
Led by Dr Rebecca Richmond at the University of Bristol, UK, along with the University of Manchester, the University of Exeter, and USA and Norwegian researchers, the large-scale study looked at data from taken from 409,166 women to investigate how a person's preference for mornings or evenings as well as their sleep habits may contribute to the development of breast cancer.
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. The findings, which were not peer-reviewed, were presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. "More work is needed to understand why sleep characteristics may be linked to breast cancer risk", said Breast Cancer Care clinical director Emma Pennery.
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.
Results from 228,951 women enrolled in an global genetic study conducted by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) were also included in the analysis.
Out of the 400 000 women, 2,740 were breast cancer survivors and 149 064 were disease free.
Breast Cancer walks, such as this one, take place around the country and aid in finding a cure and raising awareness for this disease.
"The authors do not show any biological mechanism by which sleep timing preference could influence breast cancer risk".
Being a morning person is partly down to genetics, so this lowered risk does make some sense.
Researchers from the University of Bristol have analysed the link between sleeping patterns and breast cancer in women.
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. "I wouldn't support that women should get up earlier to reduce risk of breast cancer".
"We know already that night shift work is associated with worse mental and physical health".
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