#Health and Hygiene

Study Shows Women With ‘Sleep Apnea’ Are At Higher Risk Of Cancer

sleep disorder, sleep apnea, Pandemic & Anxiety

A recent study published in the ‘European Respiratory Journal’ shows that women having intense sleep apnea are more prone to cancer. Apnea is a temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep. This research is based on analysis of registry data, collected in the European database ESADA. It was collected from 20,000 adult patients with Abstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The data showed that about 2% of them also had a cancer diagnosis. According to the research conducted previously, often people with sleep apnea had a cancer diagnosis in their medical history. Although the research in this area is expanding, the gender aspect was never taken into consideration.

Advanced stage of OSA had a higher risk of cancer. The researchers also considered the data for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol consumption. Nonetheless, it showed a possible connection between sleep apnea and higher cancer prevalence. This connection was mainly observed in women, whereas in men it was weak.


  • A recent study showed that women having intense sleep apnea are more prone to cancer.
  • The data was collected from 20,000 adult patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). About 2% of them also had a cancer diagnosis.
  • It is mainly observed in women and the connection between OSA and cancer was weak in men.

Read Also: Study Reveals Sleep Disorders Affect Men and Women Differently

Ludger Grote and his findings

The adjunct professor and chief physician in sleep medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Ludger Grote breaks the story. He said, “It’s reasonable to assume that sleep apnea is a risk factor for cancer, such as for overweight. On the other hand, it is less likely that cancer leads to sleep apnea.” Further adding to this he said “the condition of sleep apnea is well known to the general public and associated with snoring, daytime fatigue, and elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in men. Our research paves the way for a new view that sleep apnea may possibly be connected with increased cancer risk, especially in women.” Business Standard reported.

Sharing the details of the result, he said, “our results indicate a cancer risk that’s elevated two- to three-fold among women with pronounced sleep apnea. It’s impossible to say for sure what causes the association the two, but the indication means we need to study it in more depth.”

Meanwhile talking about the cancer development in women he said, “above all, the focus has been on the connection with one form of cancer: malignant melanoma. Cancer of the breast or womb may now become a new area. There may be a combined effect of female sex hormones and stress activation. Also inducing nocturnal hypoxia in sleep apnea can trigger cancer development or a weakening of the body’s immune system.

Read Also: 7 Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Image credit: Hindustan Times

Divya Tripathi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV