Sleep Disorders

Escalation of Cancer Risk in Patients with Sleep Apnea

A common disorder involving fatigue, snoring and precarious breathing at night is described as sleep apnea. Recent studies have shown that persons with sleep apnea have a higher risk of cancer. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea. For sleep specialists, this is of great concern as it causes oxygen deficiency at night and closely links to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. According to Dr. Joseph Golish, a professor of sleep medicine, these studies are the first to support a solid association between cancer and sleep apnea patients.

The studies showed that persons with the irregular abnormal breathing patterns had a five times the rate of dying from cancer than those without sleep disorder. A 65% greater risk for those with severe forms of sleep apnea was also observed. Upon consideration of variables, researchers ruled out age, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity and weight in their associations made. Dr. Martinez-Garcia proposed that treatments such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which maintains an open airway at night, may reduce the association between cancer and sleep apnea. It was therefore concluded that persons with sleep apnea are prone to many health risks and that breathing disruption during sleep is a severe problem that needs to be addressed.