AUG 22, 2019 6:27 PM PDT

Women with sleep apnea have higher rates of cancer

New research published in the European Respiratory Journal analyzed data on 20,000 adults with sleep apnea to conclude that women with severe sleep apnea have higher rates of cancer. Although the scientists behind the study cannot say that sleep apnea causes cancer, their findings do show a unquestionable link between the two for women.

The researchers analyzed data from the European Sleep Apnea Database (ESADA), which gathers medical information from 33 centers across Europe, including information regarding obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. According to Medical News Today, “OSA is a condition in which a person experiences short and repeated interruptions of breathing while asleep. The condition results from the inability of the throat muscles to keep the airway open.”

The resulting disturbed sleep and insufficient oxygen that those with OSA experience can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, memory problems, and even mood disturbance. Ludger Grote, an adjunct professor and chief physician in sleep medicine at Gothenburg University in Sweden commented that these factors make it “reasonable to assume that sleep apnea is a risk factor for cancer or that both conditions have common risk factors, such as [being] overweight.” Nevertheless, Grote asserted, "On the other hand, it is less likely that cancer leads to sleep apnea."

In their study, the researcher determined a possible association between intermittent nocturnal hypoxia and higher rates of cancer, an association that was particularly higher in women than in men. In fact, two to three times higher!

Is there a link between sleep apnea and cancer? Photo: Pixabay

"It's impossible to say for sure what causes underlie the association between sleep apnea and cancer, but the indication means we need to study it in more depth," said Grote.

Given the study’s conclusions, future investigations could potentially focus on breast or womb cancers that are specific to women.

Sources: Medical News TodayEuropean Respiratory Journal

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
APR 06, 2021
Immunology
Lymphoma Patient Cured by "Reeducating" their Immune System
APR 06, 2021
Lymphoma Patient Cured by "Reeducating" their Immune System
Australian researchers have used a breakthrough therapy to cure a patient diagnosed with a rare brain lymphoma, a form o ...
APR 14, 2021
Cancer
Fighting back against medulloblastoma with naturally-occurring compound
APR 14, 2021
Fighting back against medulloblastoma with naturally-occurring compound
Renewed hope for young children with medulloblastoma comes in the form of a research paper published from the Queen Mary ...
MAY 10, 2021
Cancer
Advancements in nanotech pave the way for improved chemotherapy
MAY 10, 2021
Advancements in nanotech pave the way for improved chemotherapy
New research from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reports on a development in improving the effectiveness of c ...
MAY 18, 2021
Cancer
New guidelines change screening age for colorectal cancer to 45
MAY 18, 2021
New guidelines change screening age for colorectal cancer to 45
Following new guideline changes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), individuals with an average risk ...
JUN 10, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Algorithm Flags High Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
JUN 10, 2021
Algorithm Flags High Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
In 2021, over 60,000 individuals in the U.S. alone will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Researchers are turning to ...
JUN 16, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Potential Way to Prevent Metastatic Cancer
JUN 16, 2021
A Potential Way to Prevent Metastatic Cancer
Metastatic cancer is the deadliest, and it can happen years after cancer has been treated to the point of remission. Met ...
Loading Comments...