Cancer research is constantly seeing new developments and studies, and one group of researchers has new information. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, something as simple as early dinners could lower your risk of developing breast and prostate cancer.

The study, consisting of 1,493 males and 2,526 females, was conducted in Spain. Approximately 621 people in the pool have diagnosed cases of prostate cancer, where 1,205 have breast cancer. They were asked about their habits regarding their diet and sleep schedules, and the results imply that an early dinnertime may be better for your long-term health.

The researchers adjusted the study according to factors such as family history regarding cancer, socioeconomic standing, and the individuals’ environments. After these adjustments were made, research showed that participants who ate dinner earlier had a 16 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer and 26 percent lower risk for prostate cancer.

To be more specific, individuals who ate dinner before 9 p.m. or waited two hours until going to bed were less likely to develop breast/prostate cancer than their counterparts.

This study is making a bold claim, especially when these malignancies are so prevalent. According to Cancer.gov, breast cancer is the most common cancer, with the next most common cancers being lung cancer and — you guessed it, prostate cancer.

One in every nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, according to Cancer.org.

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Researchers began the study because of a lack of data, according to Popular Science. “Breast and prostate cancer are the two cancers most closely related to night shift work and circadian disruption,” said Manolis Kogevinas, professor and lead investigator of the study.

While there have been previous studies on how diet affects cancer development, there is little evidence regarding when people eat. “This evidence focuses on type of diet and quantity, not on timing.” Kogevinas said. “We have practically nothing on timing of diet on big studies in humans and that is why we tested this hypothesis.”

This doesn’t mean you should panic over when you eat dinner. There isn’t a lot of explanation on why mealtimes would affect cancer development; the researchers on the project are just identifying a possible correlation.

Even so, the size and specificity of this investigation make it something to consider.

This study is “one of, if not the first, of its kind,” Corrine Joshu, epidemiologist, says. “Understanding the association between meal time and cancer risk is particularly relevant in current life, in which mistimed eating may be more common than in the past.”



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