Early Birds May Have Lower Breast Cancer Risk

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Women who are "larks" and at their best early in the morning are less likely to develop breast cancer than their night-owl sisters, a study has found.

Scientists also found a higher breast cancer risk in women who sleep longer than eight hours at night.

She added, "Sleep is likely to be an important risk factor for breast cancer, but it isn't as large as other well-established risk factors like BMI or alcohol".

"However, the findings of a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk in our study are consistent with previous research...", Richmond noted. The team presented their findings at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, while their paper, published on bioRxiv, awaits peer review.

Cliona Clare Kirwan, from the University of Manchester, a member of the NCRI Breast Clinical Studies Group who did not take part in the research, said: "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".

The samples from BCAC showed that those with lark variants had a 40 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those with night owl variants.

That's according to European researchers looking at International Genetic Data. They used a clever new way of analysing data - called Mendelian randomisation.

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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'.

She tells the BBC: "We still need to get at what makes an evening person more at risk than a morning person... we need to unpick the relationship". The Breast Cancer Walk, which centered at the Manhattanville College Campus and directed its way up to SUNY Purchase, totaled five kilometers. "I wouldn't support that women should get up earlier to reduce risk of breast cancer".

So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer?

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

The World Health Organization and its global partners have therefore dedicated October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness, diagnosis and research.

However, cancer experts say modifying your sleep patterns probably won't have a significant impact on your cancer risk.

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