Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Medifem hospital raises awareness on breast cancer; screens over 900 women

Medifem hospital raises awareness on breast cancer; screens over 900 women

New research suggests women who tend to be "night owls" are at greater risk for breast cancer.

The scientists, led by the University of Bristol, also showed women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours a night increased their chances of a diagnosis by 20 per cent for each extra hour spent asleep.

Using genetic variants associated with people's preference for morning or evening, sleep duration and insomnia, they investigated whether these sleep traits have a causal contribution to the risk of developing breast cancer.

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, Dr Richmond pointed out that the possible protective effect of being a morning person on breast cancer risk was in keeping with previous research showing that working night shifts and "light-at-night" exposure increased the risk of breast cancer. The team presented their findings at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, while their paper, published on bioRxiv, awaits peer review.

However Dr Richard Berks, senior research communications officer at the charity Breast Cancer Now, said it's too early to make any recommendations to women about their sleeping patterns based on this research.

"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.

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Results from 228,951 women enrolled in an worldwide genetic study conducted by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) were also included in the analysis. Around 4% of USA cancer deaths were linked to drinking alcohol and the Breast Cancer Now charity warns that any alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer.

The Medifem Multi-Specialist Hospital & Fertility Centre has rounded up a series of activities put together to mark Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in October. The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.

"The authors do not show any biological mechanism by which sleep timing preference could influence breast cancer risk".

She is a research fellow in the Cancer Research U.K. Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Program at the University of Bristol.

Their analysis revealed that women with a preference for mornings reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40%, compared with being an evening type.

Experts not involved in the research welcomed the findings - although they cautioned that it was too early to change any behaviour until more research can be conducted.

"Women need to talk to their doctors and the benefits of screenings, self-breast examinations and risk factors".

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