Studies: Sleep Apnea May Boost Cancer Risk
But researchers don't know why
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2012 1:47 AM CDT
Graphic shows the anatomy and physiology causing sleep apnea.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Sleep apnea afflicts some 28 million Americans, and now two new medical studies are indicating it might do far worse than ruin a night's sleep; it could also increase one's cancer risk, reports the New York Times. Those with severe sleep apnea have a 65% greater chance of developing some form of cancer, according to a study in Spain, while a second study in Wisconsin indicates people with the most breathing problems in their sleep face a risk of dying from cancer fives times the average.

"This is really big news," said a professor of sleep medicine. "It's the first time this has been shown, and it looks like a very solid association." Both studies ruled out other cancer-related risks, such as smoking, drinking, or weight. Scientists caution that much more work needs to be done to understand how sleep apnea and cancer might be related, but research on mice has shown a link between oxygen deprivation and the faster progress of cancer. "That is really striking," said one of the Wisconsin study's authors. "It could be something else, but it’s hard to imagine that something we didn’t control for is causing this."

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Studies: Sleep Apnea May Boost Cancer Risks is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 2 of 2 comments
May 21, 2012 7:44 AM CDT
Medication or what people eat could be the primary cause of these ailments. Just eliminate certain foods or beverages that one consumes daily for years and years and note the difference in symptoms.
May 21, 2012 4:25 AM CDT
doesn't surprise me at all. Sleep apnea has been associated with hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction (yikes), depression, strokes, nocturea, worsening obesity, headaches, mood swings, automobile accidents (nearly double the risk ), weakened immune response, not to mention the snoring keeping your spouse awake....The surprise is that they didn't notice this sooner