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
NOV 24, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 24, 2019
22 Genes Discovered that Predict Skin Cancer from Sun Exposure
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with around 49 cases per 100,000 people. Now, researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Researc...
DEC 06, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 06, 2019
Study finds association between hair products and breast cancer risk
For many women, hair color and style are significant components of their identity. However, troubling information from a new study about the use of hair dy...
DEC 24, 2019
Cancer
DEC 24, 2019
The effect of aspirin on breast cancer
New research published recently in the journal Cancer aims to better understand the effects that aspirin can have on breast cancer. Previous research has s...
JAN 11, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 11, 2020
Single Cells Carry 'Forests' of Chromatin
Researchers are learning more about how every human cell organizes and packages about two meters of DNA....
JAN 13, 2020
Cancer
JAN 13, 2020
The anti-cancer properties of bitter melon
New research published in the journal Cell Communication and Signaling suggests that bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, may have anti-cancer propert...
FEB 15, 2020
Cancer
FEB 15, 2020
New AI tool makes cancer data more efficient
Cancer is everywhere and yet it seems that the more we know about it, the more we have to learn. With almost one and every two people expected to receive a...
Loading Comments...