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No Link Between Sleep Apnea, Cancer, Study Finds
Date:8/5/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Canadian researchers have found no apparent connection between sleep apnea and cancer in a new study of more than 10,000 people with this common sleep disorder.

People with sleep apnea experience repeated periods of disrupted breathing during sleep. Studies suggesting a link between the condition and cancer risk theorized that low oxygen levels might trigger cell mutations connected with cancer.

"We were not able to confirm previous hypotheses that obstructive sleep apnea is a cause of overall cancer development through intermittent lack of oxygen," said lead author Dr. Tetyana Kendzerska, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Women's College Hospital at the University of Toronto.

The report, published Aug. 5 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, is unlikely to put the question to rest, however.

"Additional studies are needed to find out whether there is an independent effect of sleep apnea on specific types of cancer," Kendzerska said.

Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said the findings suggest that sleep apnea by itself is not related to an increased risk of cancer. "However, for some people the factors that cause sleep apnea are related to an increased risk of cancer," he said.

Risk factors for sleep apnea include smoking, chronic lung disease, obesity and diabetes, Lichtenfeld said. "It is these conditions that are more likely to cause the increased cancer risk seen in other studies, not the sleep apnea itself," he said.

This study isn't the "final answer," he said. "More research will have to be done."

For the study, Kendzerska and colleagues studied about 10,150 patients suffering
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