Leaving the a light in the hall on during the night? How about falling asleep with the television or computer screen glaring across the room? If you’re a breast cancer survivor on Tamoxifen, you might want to rethink some of these old habits.
Melatonin is a hormone our bodies naturally produce that promotes sleeping, and levels ordinarily rise during the darkness of the night. Recent data out of Tulane University found that the production of melatonin was significantly decreased when lab rats were exposed to a dim light while sleeping. More importantly, the reduction of melatonin interfered with the effectiveness of Tamoxifen in animals with breast cancer. Rats taking Tamoxifen and sleeping in darkness had less progression of their tumors than those taking Tamoxifen who slept in dim light.
The suggested mechanism is that melatonin interferes with the pathways that would otherwise decrease the effectiveness of Tamoxifen against the tumor – so essentially it HELPS Tamoxifen combat the cancer.
What this might mean for the Tamoxifen takers is that it may be beneficial to take the pill at night, when melatonin levels peak, and also, turn the lights off. Try to block external street light from filtering into the room as well.
I expect more information will be coming out about this observation in the near future.
Another tidbit from the celebrity surgeon, because every patient is a star.