(CNN) -- People who eat dinner before 9 p.m. -- or at least two hours before going to sleep -- have a 20% lower risk of breast and prostate cancer than those who eat after 10 p.m. or go to bed shortly after supper, researchers found.
"The mechanisms are not clear," said Dr. Manolis Kogevinas, a research professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain and lead author of a new study on the topic. "What we know from experimental studies is that we are conditioned to function in different parts of the day. We -- not only humans but all living organisms -- have developed throughout time functioning differently in day and night."
The study, published Tuesday in the International Journal of Cancer, followed 621 people who had prostate cancer and 1,205 who had breast cancer, as well as 872 male and 1,321 female patients without cancer, known as a control group, chosen randomly from primary health centers throughout Spain.
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