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
MAY 11, 2020
Cancer
MAY 11, 2020
Are antihistamines helpful for cancer?
Research recently published in the research journal Allergy suggests that a common antihistamine could improve survival ...
MAY 28, 2020
Cancer
MAY 28, 2020
The Oncogenic Hazard of a Potential Alzheimer's Treatment
Breast cancer remains one of the most common cancers around the world. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a sub-typ ...
JUN 14, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUN 14, 2020
A Fungal Compound That Triggers Self-Destruction in Cancer Cells
To describe it in a very basic way, cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. A number of processes regulate various aspects o ...
JUN 10, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 10, 2020
A Highly Targeted Cancer Therapeutic
A study led by researchers at USC School of Pharmacy discusses a way to engineer drugs that highly target malignant tiss ...
JUL 03, 2020
Cancer
JUL 03, 2020
Using Machine Learning to Further Classify Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
One of the challenges of facing cancer researchers is coming up with a clearly defined classification system. Cancer is ...
JUN 30, 2020
Cancer
JUN 30, 2020
PAR glycohydrolase inhibitors to enhance treatment for gliomas
New hope for glioma patients comes in the form of a novel strategy to target tumors, the results of which are published ...
Loading Comments...