Does Sleep Apnea Raise Cancer Risk?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person temporarily stops breathing while they sleep. It has been associated with several health conditions. In the past, studies have established a link between sleep apnea and cancer. However, a new study suggests that the risk might be even higher for women with severe symptoms of sleep apnea.

Home Care Walpole MA - Does Sleep Apnea Raise Cancer Risk?

Home Care Walpole MA – Does Sleep Apnea Raise Cancer Risk?

Sleep Apnea and Cancer in Women

This new study was published in the European Respiratory Journal. The scientists who conducted the study looked at data from 20,000 participants. Approximately 2 percent of the participants also had a history of cancer.

Although previous studies found a link between cancer and sleep apnea, scientists had not examined whether there was a significant difference in risk between men and women. The results of the recent study showed a stronger risk for developing cancer in women than in men.

There are a couple of existing theories about why people with sleep apnea are at greater risk for cancer. One of them is that sleep apnea and cancer have some risk factors in common, such as obesity. Another theory suggests that lack of oxygen and sleep loss caused by sleep apnea may be the culprits for higher cancer risk.

Tips for Managing Sleep Apnea

While there’s no proof that having sleep apnea will lead to cancer, there’s certainly no harm in taking steps to better manage sleep apnea in your aging relative. Some things seniors can do to improve life with sleep apnea, such as:

Weight Loss: About half of all people who have obstructive sleep apnea weigh more than they should. Losing even as little as 20 pounds can make a difference in sleep apnea symptoms.

Physical Activity: Physical activity can help with weight loss. It also helps with wearing the older adult out so that they sleep better at night.

Sleep in a Different Position: Sleeping on the back can make episodes of interrupted breathing occur more frequently because it closes off the throat. Try having the older adult sleep on their side.

Improve Sleep Habits: Practicing better sleep habits like cutting out caffeine close to bedtime and going to bed at the same time each night can improve sleep.

Home care providers can assist with steps for improving sleep apnea symptoms in your aging relative. A home care provider can cook balanced meals that encourage weight loss. A home care provider can also help with physical activity by keeping seniors busy during the day with activities that keep them moving, such as going for walks, attending an exercise class, or going to the local pool for a swim.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Walpole MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.

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