Sleep apnea is a common disorder that approximately 28 million Americans have in one form or another. It causes fatigue, snoring and dangerous pauses in breathing at night.
This condition is considered a top concern to sleep doctors because it deprives the body of oxygen at night and can coincide with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
In one of the new studies, researchers in Spain followed thousands of patients who suffered from many forms of sleep apnea. It was found that those patients with the more severe type of sleep apnea were at a greater risk of developing cancer of any kind by 65 percent.
Another study looked at patients who had difficulties breathing at night. It was discovered that those patients with this breathing abnormality had five times the rate of dying from cancer compared to people that did not have the sleep disorder.
According to the article from The New York Times, Dr. Mitesh Borad, a cancer researcher and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic called the studies “provocative,” but suggested that more research be performed to confirm the findings.
However, recent studies performed on mice do suggest that sleep apnea plays an important role in developing cancer. When mice with cancerous tumors were placed in low-oxygen environments (which simulate the effects of sleep apnea), their cancers progressed more rapidly.
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