Women chirpiest in the morning less likely to develop breast cancer

Lina Al Maeena with Jeddah United

Morning people who peak in the early hours of the day are less at risk of breast cancer compared to their "evening" counterparts, a study has found.

The participants included 180,215 women enrolled with the UK Biobank project - a large long-term study which includes genomic data on about half a million people - and 228,951 women who had been part of a study on breast cancer carried out by the worldwide Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), which has the largest collection of genetic data on women with breast cancer in the world.

The study found that a preference for mornings reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent compared with being an evening type. They used a clever new way of analysing data - called Mendelian randomisation.

Dr Richard Berks, from Breast Cancer Now, said: "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".

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

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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.

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. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.

Dipender Gill, of Imperial College London, said: "Although informative and interesting, this study alone does not warrant any action other than further investigation - people should not be changing their sleep patterns based on the evidence presented here".

In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women passed away from breast cancer, that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women. According to Cancer Research UK, around a quarter of cases might be preventable. The Conference provides a platform for researchers, clinicians, people affected by cancer and industry representatives to come together to discuss, present and showcase high-quality research. Its 19 member organisations work together to accelerate progress in cancer-related research through collaboration, to improve health and quality of life.

The Medifem Multi-Specialist Hospital & Fertility Centre has rounded up a series of activities put together to mark Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in October.

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