Most recently, there have been two studies that show a link between Sleep Apnea and Cancer. In a study, performed in Wisconsin, people with severe Sleep Apnea were found
to have a 5 times higher chance of dying from cancer when followed over a 20 year period.
A second study done in Spain revealed that the chance of having any type of cancer was 68% higher in patients with severe Sleep Apnea. Patients were followed over a seven year period. In this particular study, having oxygen saturations lower than 90% for greater than 12% of the night was a major predictor of cancer.
Researchers postulate; that it is the low oxygen levels that may be the common denominator. It is believed, that low oxygen levels promote the growth of blood vessels, which feed these cancerous tumors. This process is referred to as angiogenesis.
Thus, it would appear; that in addition to hypertension, heart disease and stroke, we can now add cancer as another disease that may be caused by Sleep Apnea. Considering that an estimated 20 million people suffer from Sleep Apnea; it is imperative, that we diagnose and treat this disorder.