Early Birds May Have Lower Breast Cancer Risk

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Women who begin their day early are likely to have a lower of risk breast cancer, than late beginners, suggests a research.

This new study reveals another benefit to being a morning person - lower breast cancer risk.

The research, which is being presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, also found that breast cancer risk increased by 20 per cent for every hour a women slept beyond the recommended amount of 7 to 8 hours a night.

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.

"In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that", she noted.

Around one in seven women in the United Kingdom will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, and well-known risk factors include smoking, alcohol, age and family history.

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"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.

The team used a method called Mendelian randomisation, which uses genetic variants associated with possible risk factors for breast cancer, such as sleep characteristics, to see whether they are involved in causing disease. Dr Richmond said:"These findings have potential policy implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce risk of breast cancer among women".

Take our quiz to find out whether you are a morning type, or an evening owl.

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

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". Researchers then mapped the genetic variations between the earlier risers and the night owls and compared it with that to the risk of developing cancer. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk. "Another limitation is that sleep timing preference (chronotype) is self-reported, and the investigation did not specifically recruit individuals with different sleep patterns, such as night-shift workers", Burgess wrote in the comments of the study. This study provides further evidence to suggest disrupted sleep patterns may have a role in cancer development.

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