Sleep Apnea May Raise Cancer Risk

It looks like we can add cancer to the list of health problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea. A study from the University of Sydney found that moderate-to-severe sleep apnea was linked to a 2 1/2 times higher likelihood of developing cancer. This was after the researchers adjusted for other factors such as obesity! Mortality from cancer was 3.4 times for common for those with sleep apnea than those without during 20 years of follow-up.

These findings don’t stand alone. They correlate to findings from studies in Wisconsin that showed that there was twice the risk of dying from cancer with moderate obstructive sleep apnea and an almost 5 times greater risk with severe sleep apnea. A study from Spain showed increased cancer risks as well.

The idea for all three studies came from mouse model findings that suggested that depriving the body of oxygen spurred rapid tumor growth. Because the body is starved for oxygen during sleep apnea episodes, the researchers want to discover all of the risks of not treating sleep apnea.

We already know that untreated sleep apnea is linked to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, mood disorders, high risk of accident and weight gain. These three research studies suggest that we should add a higher risk of developing cancer to this list.

Many people think they might have sleep apnea but do not seek diagnosis and treatment because they “won’t sleep with one of those machines”. There is an alternative to CPAP for patients who can’t or won’t use the machine — an oral appliance created by a dentist who has been trained in treating sleep apnea patients is highly effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea and is suggested for more severe apnea cases when the patient is CPAP intolerant.

Protect your health! If you think you might have obstructive sleep apnea we can help you find out and we can help you get the appropriate treatment.

Please contact Dr. John Highsmith in Clyde, NC today at 828-627-9282 to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.

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Posted in: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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