Lack of Sleep Increases Risk of Breast Cancer

Having poor sleep not only makes you exhausted, irritable and unfocused, it also makes you more prone to breast cancer according to a study carried out by researchers at Michigan State University.

Based on their findings, skipping important hours of sleeping reduces the amount of melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain that makes us tired and prevents tumours from growing.


To arrive at this conclusion, the research team led by Juliana Lopes grew tumours from stem cells called mammospheres.  To fuel tumor growth, they used the hormone estrogen as well as BPA, an estrogen-like chemical found in many types of plastic food packages.

Treating it with melatonin proved to significantly lower the number and size of mammospheres when compared with those in the control group.

It was also discovered that when the cells were stimulated by estrogen or BPA and treated with melatonin at the same time, greater reduction in the number and size of mammospheres was observed.

According to the researchers, the study establishes the principle in which cancer stem cell growth may be regulated by natural hormones.

“It provides an important new technique to screen chemicals for cancer-promoting effects, as well as identify potential new drugs for use in the clinic,” they concluded.

What are the symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer?

Breast cancer may initially not cause symptoms as some lumps may be too small for you to feel or detect. If you notice some unusual changes in your breasts, have it checked as it can be a symptom of breast cancer.

Here are some signs of breast cancer, according to Breast Cancer Org. 

  1. Breast pain
  2. Skin irritation or dimpling
  3. Swelling of all or part of the breast
  4. Nipple pain or nipple turning inward
  5. Nipple discharge other than breastmilk
  6. Lump in the underarm area
  7. Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple area

Here are the risk factors of breast cancer, according to Mayo Clinic.

  1. Being female
  2. Increasing age
  3. Personal and family history of breast cancer
  4. Radiation exposure
  5. Obesity
  6. Having period at a younger age
  7. Beginning menopause at an older age
  8. Having your first child after 30
  9. Having never been pregnant
  10. Undergoing postmenopausal hormone therapy
  11. Consuming alcohol