Early Birds May Have Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Raelene Boyle and Judy Wild

Raelene Boyle and Judy Wild

Women who are considered morning people are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who have more energy in the evenings, according to researchers.

The researchers from the University of Bristol in England 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 led by the global Breast Cancer Association Consortium and found that women who prefer mornings have a 40% to 48% reduced risk of developing that type of cancer.

"What we would like to look at next is the interplay between our innate preference, to being a morning person or an evening person, and our actual behavior", lead researcher Dr. Rebecca Richmond told British newspaper The Independent.

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

Attendees of the event included hundreds of family members, sports teams, friends, and even those valiant survivors affected by breast cancer; most wearing sashes to signify their defeat against the cause.

"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".

Researchers also looked at results from nearly 229,000 women signed up to an global genetic study carried out by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Using genetic variants reduces the effect of confounding or reverse causation, making the technique more reliable than other observational methods.

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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'.

In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women passed away from breast cancer, that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

Careem, one of the region's leading technology organisations, launched a breast cancer awareness campaign in partnership with the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) last October.

"We know that sleep is important generally for health", said Richmond.

Scientists at Bristol University, UK, have found that something as simple as your internal body clock (or circadian rhythm) can play an important role in how likely (or not) you are to be diagnosed with cancer.

The data showed that women who were morning types, also known as "larks, ' had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who were evening types, or 'owls". Men and women of all ages are encouraged to check themselves for breast cancer as it can affect anyone. She was not involved in this research.

"In terms of the implications of the research, it supports existing evidence that sleep patterns influence cancer risk, but it remains unclear how individual preferences for early or late rising interact with actual sleep behaviours", Moorthie wrote in an email.

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