Sleep traits could be a risk factor for breast cancer, new research suggests. Women who said they preferred to get out of bed early were found to have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who stay up late.
One out of 100 women who considered themselves morning people developed breast cancer, compared with two in 100 women who described themselves as evening people.
Researchers used information from more than 400,000 women in two large data banks — around 180,000 women from UK Biobank study and more than 220,000 women from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium study. Participants’ preference for waking early or late was included in the data.
“It is important to note that these data do not suggest in any way that modifying sleep habits could eventually lead to a decrease in the risk of breast cancer,” Luca Magnani, senior research fellow in the department of Surgery & Cancer at Imperial College London told the Science Media Centre.
“What they suggest is that it appears that the risk of breast cancer is associated with a genetic (thus not modifiable) trait that is in itself associated with a “morning” or “night” preference — what we call ‘larks’ and ‘owls’.”
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