Disturbed sleep and snoring may indicate a higher risk of cancer, a new study has shown. Snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that study participants with severe SDB were five times more likely to suffer from fatal cancer than those without the condition.
Studies on laboratory mice have also revealed that intermittent oxygen starvation, which snorers may suffer from, promotes tumour growth in skin cancers, as a lack of oxygen stimulates the generation of blood vessels that nourish tumours. Study leader Dr F Javier Nieto said: “Ours is the first study to show an association between SDB and an elevated risk of cancer mortality in a population-based sample. If the relationship between SDB and cancer mortality is validated in further studies, the diagnosis and treatment of SDB in patients with cancer might be indicated to prolong survival.”
Snoring can be prevented in a variety of ways, many of which are beneficial to health in themselves: stopping smoking, losing weight and exercising more all contribute to healthier night-time breathing. Making sure you have a comfortable bed and keeping a sleeping area at a constant temperature will also improve quality of sleep.