Link Between Sleep Apnea and Cancer

By | April 15, 2016

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Certain Forms Of Cancer?

There is now proof that people who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) also have an increased risk of developing cancer than those without OSA.

I was reading an interesting article recently where a doctor was talking about the benefits of getting sufficient sleep, anywhere between 7 – 8 hours a night for proper physical and mental health.

As I have mentioned throughout my website, there are many problems and risk factors associated with sleep apnea and if it goes undetected, the person involved can run into severe problems. As I have indicated, sleep apnea has been associated with a number of problems including stroke, other cardiovascular problems, acid reflux, obesity, high blood pressure as well as excessive daytime sleepiness, poor job performance and a greater risk of accidents while driving a vehicle. It has been estimated that sleep apnea affects at least 13 percent of men and 6 percent of women, and those percentages increase as people become more obese, which is a major cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Well, speaking from experience, I personally had to have some skin cancer removed. Thankfully it was determined to be benign and it was something I had before I knew I had sleep apnea, so I’m not sure if the two are related.

Sleep apnea has now been associated with some forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostrate cancer.

For example a study was done that showed women who suffer from insufficient sleep are more prone to having aggressive forms of breast cancer or the reoccurrence of breast cancer. A separate study indicated that men who get insufficient sleep are twice as likely to develop prostrate cancer. Both of those studies were done in 2014. There was a separate study done in 2010 which showed that people who had colonoscopies were 50 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer if these individuals had less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

These studies have shown that there is a co-relation between people with untreated sleep apnea and cancer. They suggest that these people have a five-fold greater risk of dying earlier from cancer than those without OSA. This is a result in part because of the fluctuation in the person’s blood oxygen levels due to the sleep apnea.

In conclusion I would only like to say that if you even suspect that you have a sleeping disorder or your bed partner says that you snore or stop breathing when you sleep, I would highly recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor to get a referral to a sleep study clinic. But bear in mind that there could be quite a delay between getting the referral and actually having the sleep study done. In my case, I had to wait over ten months before I could get my sleep study done. Don’t you think it would be piece of mind to know, one way or the other, if you have sleep apnea. At least if you do, then you could begin treatment for it and start getting the sleep that you require, before any other symptoms develop.

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4 thoughts on “Link Between Sleep Apnea and Cancer

  1. Dave

    I agree with all of this. I found out I was stopping breathing up to 11 times a night and my sleep was not at all restful. I have been using the mask and cpap machine for 3 years now and my smart card says I am only stopping breathing 1 time per hour which is really good. I know some people can stop much more than that. All of that limits the deep sleep you’re getting and is hard on the organs. So, yea I would definitely look into a cpap machine if you are having problems sleeping and definitely if you are over 40 see a doctor and have a sleep test performed. Great post here!

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thanks for your feedback Dave! Glad to hear that your CPAP machine is helping you with your breathing. For myself, I stopped breathing 35 times per hour. As another example, my dad stopped 96 times per hour. You make a great point that anyone who suspects they have a sleeping problem should get a prescription from their doctor for a sleep study, especially for those of us over 40!
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply

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