#It’sMoreThanSnoring – Can Having Sleep Apnea Increase Your Risk of Getting Cancer?

Our last post of the #It’sMoreThanSnoring campaign discovered the connection between sleep apnea and high blood pressure. If you missed it, check it out by visiting this link.

By now, it is easy to see how having sleep apnea can contribute to serious conditions, such as depression and heart disease. In this post, we will explore sleep apnea’s link to a higher risk of cancer development and mortality.

Most would not think there is connection between sleep apnea and cancer. However, like we explored in previous posts, when sleep apnea patients are asleep, their airway is blocked. This can promote neovascularization, the growth of new blood vessels, which can promote tumor growth.

Back in 2013, Spanish researchers released their study that showed those with OSA had a 65 percent chance increased risk of cancer development. This increased risk is thought to be associated with hypoxia, the condition where the body is deprived of oxygen. A University of Wisconsin study also concluded that those with sleep-disordered breathing are five times more likely to die from cancer than those without a sleep disorder.

What kind of cancer are those with sleep apnea more likely to have? Research shows that 80 percent of those with head and neck cancer also have sleep apnea. For women, those who have sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

As we discussed in previous posts, it is vital to monitor your weight, quit smoking, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, treat your medical conditions and get on the right track to quality sleep.

It is important to take this condition seriously because it has connections to multiple diseases, most of those we have highlighted during this campaign.

If you are reading this and know someone struggling with sleep apnea, please share this information. Anyone who has symptoms of sleep apnea are encouraged to reach out to our office to schedule an appointment. Here at Somerville Dental Sleep Medicine, we are dedicated to helping sleep apnea patients live their best life and achieve quality sleep.


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