Lack of sleep as a cause of breast cancer?

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Study shows link between breast cancer and sleep deficit

Lack of sleep is associated with a wide variety of health risks. The susceptibility to breast cancer is also particularly high in women who sleep little or poorly, according to the results of a study by researchers from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (Ohio, USA).

According to the authors of the study, Cheryl L. Thompson and Li Li, in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, "shorter duration of sleep has been associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases, including breast cancer." If, however, no study was carried out in breast cancer patients on the “relationship between the average length of sleep before diagnosis and cancer aggressiveness”, the US scientists justify their current study.

Link between sleep duration and breast cancer As part of their study, the US scientists from the University of Cleveland surveyed over 400 breast cancer patients about their sleeping habits and the sleep duration in the last two years before breast cancer diagnosis. In addition, the researchers determined on the basis of a so-called "Oncotype DX" test in 101 patients how aggressive the cancer was and how high the risk of relapse after treatment would be. They found that postmenopausal patients had a clear connection between the length of sleep and the aggressiveness of breast cancer or the risk of relapse. Co-author of the study, Li Li from the Institute of Family Medicine and Social Health at Cleveland University, said that "too short and bad sleep is a risk factor for many diseases such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease, but also one of the triggers for breast cancer." the menopause ”.

Sleep as a way to prevent breast cancer? The survey of breast cancer patients and the evaluation of the cancer tests clearly showed that women who sleep less than six hours a night after menopause are at higher risk of breast cancer, the US scientists report. The women with a lack of sleep showed significantly higher recurrence (re-disease risk) in the "Oncotype DX" test, according to Cheryl L. Thompson and Li Li. The relationship was also confirmed by taking into account other risk factors such as age, physical activity, smoking and the body mass index (BMI). "This is the first study to show that women who sleep less hours on a regular basis are more likely to have aggressive breast cancer," the US researchers report. According to Thompson and Li, “a targeted extension and qualitative improvement in night's sleep could be a previously underestimated preventive measure” against breast cancer in women beyond menopause. The US researchers were unable to explain why the lack of sleep only has such a negative impact on older patients, but apparently has no consequence in young patients with regard to the risk of breast cancer. They pointed out that differences in the development of breast cancer in women before and after menopause have been known for some time, which presumably can also be blamed for the different effects of lack of sleep. (fp)

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