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Breast Cancer Survivors Should Avoid Late-Night Eating, Here’s Why

Apr 03, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
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A nurse checks on a patient with breast cancer in UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, California.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Dear breast cancer survivors, you might want to hold off that midnight snack. A new study showed a link in the late-night fasting of survivors and the risk of recurrence in women with the early stage of the disease.

The recent study revealed that breast cancer survivors who fast for less than 13 hours between dinner and breakfast have a higher risk of the disease recurring, as per a Washington Post report.

The study, published in JAMA Oncology, made use of data collected from 2,413 women with breast cancer in the early stages, and were diagnosed when they were 27 to 70 years old. The women participated in the prospective Women's Healthy Eating and Living study between March 1, 1995, and May 3, 2007.

The data were based on the women's self-reported diets. Analysis was done from May 18 to October 5 last year.

The researchers discovered that women who fasted for less than 13 hours each night has a 36 percent higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Ruth Patterson of the Moores Cancer Center in the University of California, San Diego, told Reuters Health that eating at late nights can result in worse quality of sleep and can affect the way sugar is regulated by the blood.

"Maybe sleep and insulin levels may be affecting downstream risks including breast cancer," Patterson said.

However, the research did not associate fasting less every night to a statistically significant higher risk of breast cancer mortality.

About 1 in 8 women in the U.S., or about 12 percent, will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, according to

The non-profit organization also said that an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer this year.

It also said that more than 2.8 million women in the country has a history of breast cancer, which includes women currently being treated and those who have finished treatment.

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