Women Who Wake Up Early Have Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer Than Night Owls, Says Study

New research from the University of Bristol claims women who are early risers have almost half the breast cancer risk of night owls.

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From our consumption of food and alcohol to the use of the contraceptive pill, women are regularly told to remain vigilant when it comes to reducing the risk of r.

However, little did we think that our body clocks may also have a role to play.

UK researchers now claim that women who are early risers have almost half the breast cancer risk of those who are more active in the evening and stay up late.

The study

Earlier this week, a team at the University of Bristol presented a study at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow which suggests that morning larks are 40 to 48 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than night owls.

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Using a new way of analysing data - called Mendelian randomisation - the researchers studied 341 segments of DNA that control our body clocks.

The research - which involved more approximately 400,000 women who had their genetic information recorded in the UK Biobank project or the Breast Cancer Association Consortium study - focussed on an eight-year period of a woman's life.

During that time, the data showed that two in 100 owls developed breast cancer compared with one in 100 'larks'.

It also found an additional breast cancer risk for women who slept more than the recommended seven to eight hours a night, which is equivalent to an extra 20 per cent risk for each hour.

What does this mean?

Dr Rebecca Richmond, one of the researchers from the University of Bristol, told the : 'The findings are potentially very important because sleep is ubiquitous and easily modified.

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'Previous research has looked at the impact of shift work, but this is showing there may be a risk factor for all women.'

While the research suggests a link between genetics and risks of cancer, it's important to note that the study's focus of genetic markers linked with sleep only explains a small part of human behaviour. As we all know, several other factors including stress, work, and family can also affect sleeping patterns.

'We still need to get at what makes an evening person more at risk than a morning person… we need to unpick the relationship,' Richmond explained.

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According to , age and family history are some of the main risk factors for breast cancer. However, research from the charity in 2015 found that 23 per cent of breast cancer cases might be preventable in the UK.

The new study comes months after researchers in China predicted that women who work night shifts are , with nurses being particularly at risk.

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