Breast cancer metastasis: the light may be to blame

When it comes time to sleep, it is common for each person to have a different way of resting – it may be that they only sleep one way, or the other. But as is customary to say, the important thing is that at that moment the light is off.

This recommendation can be reinforced after the result of a new research with patients with breast cancer .

According to the researchers, exposure to light at night, even at low intensity, can increase the chances of cancer to metastasize in the bones , that is, to spread to other regions.

The information came after animal tests were done. The results were presented at a meeting of The Endocrine Society, a medical organization in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

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How can this happen?

After the tests, the researchers observed that, like humans, rodents have high nocturnal levels of melatonin, that is, they also produced this hormone during the night.

This melatonin is responsible for promoting sleep and, in the study, proved to be an important agent in the body’s defense system, controlling cancer.

The scientists injected the mice with a breast cancer cell and placed them in exposure to light at night.

When this happened, it was seen that light was able to decrease the production of melatonin and that is why animals were more likely to develop cancer in another part of the body.

In addition, when the researchers went to analyze the X-rays, they noticed that those animals that slept with the light on had bigger tumors when compared to the mice that spent the night in the dark.

The research was also important to assess the impacts of treatment. This is because some patients in continuous hospital follow-up can sleep with the presence of lights (due to the devices or ambient lighting).

This factor would then be an aggravating condition.

Therefore, sleeping with the light off is still recommended by doctors, considering that the body needs this nocturnal production of melatonin for proper functioning.

The objective of the research was to observe the relationship between exposure to light during sleep and cases of breast cancer progression.

The results can assist in controlling the disease and knowledge about the course of cancer.